Sir Arne’s Treasure

An epic tragedy set in the sixteenth century, Sir Arne’s Treasure is the first of Stiller’s film in which his particular dramatic style can be seen to have fully matured. Three Scottish mercenaries, fleeing cross-country after they and their comrades have been banished for conspiracy by the king of Sweden, try to reach the sanctuary of a waiting ship. Becoming like ravening wolves in their deprivation, they eventually light upon Sir Arne’s fabled treasure, wiping out his entire household in the process. The single survivor, Elsalill (Mary Johnson), subsequently falls in love, unknowingly, with the youngest of the three, Sir Archie (Richard Lund), whose new affluence and elegant clothes have restored to him a degree of respectability and a tortured conscience. With splendid formality, Stiller suggests an inexorable fate closing in on this strange and ill-fated love affair.
Sweden, 1919.
English titles.
Black and white.
109 mins.

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