Stiller employed Victor Sjostrom, to unexpectedly vivacious effect, as the protagonist of his two best comedies, Thomas Graal’s Best Film and Thomas Graal’s First Child. Best Film uses deft satire of the movie business both as a framework for the plot and as justification for the formal trickery with which its heaps up complications. Graal is a writer for the ‘AB Film Company’, and since ideas are coming slowly on his current assignment, he is being hounded by the studio’s manager (an early prototype of the philistine producer). Partly to blame for Graal’s writing block is his infatuation with his secretary Bessie (Karin Molander), the runaway daughter of a wealthy family. After a romantic tiff, Bessie runs out, and the rest of the film becomes a connecting tissue of flashbacks-cum-fantasies leading to their final reconciliation and engagement. Conceived and played as a brisk collision of moods, Thomas Graal’s Best Film turns its flimsy premise into a triumphantly single-minded conceit.
Black and white.