Old Mansion, The

Stiller’s second adaptation from a Selma Lagerlof novel, Gunnar Hedes saga distills elements from much of his previous work and has a fair claim to being the most personal of all his films and his one incontestable masterpiece. Like Songs of the Scarlet Flower, and despite the hero’s spectacular spell as a reindeer herdsman, the drama is more acutely orchestrated indoors than out. Gunnar Hede (Einar Hanson), a dreamer with little interest in his parents’ plans for him as a mining engineer, is eventually sent packing by his mother when he persists in his dalliance with a gypsy girl, Ingrid (Mary Johnson). Like the younger Stiller, this dissatisfied exile aspires to the despised call of ‘artiste’; himself a violinist, and once a struggling actor in the Finnish and Swedish theatre, Stiller anchors Gunnar’s dreams in the image of his grandfather as a strolling fiddler and one-time adverturer.
Sweden, 1922.
English titles.
Black and white.
109 mins.

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