Sunday, September 20, 2015

Born Today September 20: Victor Sjöström


Born Victor David Sjöström in Silbodal Sweden, he is primarily known as a very prolific director of films, but, in fact, he was also a prolific actor as well, often directing himself in his own films.  He is well known as "The Father Swedish Film" and is regarded as one of the very best film directors ever.  He directed some very famous and influential silent films, especially in the 1920's that includes one of my favorite silent horror films of all time The Phantom Carriage (which he also wrote) in 1921.  Though born in Sweden he was only one year old when his father Olof moved the family the New York; when 6 years later his mother died, at just the age of 7 he returned alone to Sweden to live with relatives in Stockholm.  He started down the path toward making films, when at the age of 17 he started acting with a touring theater company. He left the stage to make his first film in 1912 and continued to direct films through the year 1937. In all he made 41 films in Sweden, many are probably and  sadly lost.  Though he started directing in Sweden, he made the move to Hollywood in the 1920's at the invitation Louis B. Mayer, where he went on to direct the likes fellow Swede Greta Garbo, Lillian Gish, Lon Chaney Sr. and John Gilbert, just to name a few. When in Hollywood he was credited as "Victor Seastrom." He made only two talkies in the US, with only one A Lady To Love (1930) actually made for US consumption.  Though his next film Die Sehnsucht jeder Frau (1930) was produced by MGM, it was in the German language and debuted in Finland; on this one he insisted that his real name be credited as director.  This marked his end in Hollywood, when he returned to Sweden to direct a further two films.  His last film Under The Red Robe (1937) was made in England, where he was once again credited as Seastrom (it is currently on Amazon Prime).  He then stopped directing films and returned to the theater in Stockholm.  He did, however, continue acting in movie, with his last role coming in the year 1957 in no less than the Ingmar Bergman directed Wild Strawberries.  In addition to being an incredibly talented actor and director, he was also very good writer of screenplays.  He passed away in Stockholm on the 3 of January in 1960 at the age of 80 and it interred at Norra begravningsplatsen (Northern Cemetery), where a number of other famous Swedes are buried including actress Ingrid Bergman is also buried.

In Hollywood with Lillian Gish and Lars Hanson, amongst other on an outdoor shoot.

His Very Prolific Silent Era Work:

Trädgårdsmästaren (1912) (a formerly lost film, it was also a banned film)

Barnet (1913) (short)

Vampyren (1913) (short)

Dödskyssen (1916) (partially lost film)

Name The Man (1924) (his first Hollywood film)

He Who Gets Slapped (1924) (this will be aired on TCM on the 28th of this month)

Confessions Of A Queen (1925) (partially lost film)

The Tower Of Lies (1925) (set in Sweden, filmed in California, I believe the above still may be a cast photo from this film.)

The Divine Woman (1928) (here he directed Garbo, it such a shame that only 9 minutes of this film survives!  At least we have the one reel!)

The Masks Of The Devil (1928) (sadly a lost film

No comments:

Post a Comment