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Previously available in the U.S. only in a severely truncated version, Mauritz Stiller's The Saga of Gösta Berling -- the film that made Greta Garbo a star -- has been restored to its proper luster by the Swedish Film Institute.
Lars Hanson, one of Sweden's biggest stars, plays Gösta Berling, a defrocked priest who encounters a series of adventures and loves in his tumultuous journey to redemption. Along the way, he encounters the beautiful Elisabeth, played by Greta Garbo in her first major screen role, but who already looks very much the movie star. The epic production is punctuated by stunning set pieces, including the burning of the massive Ekeby estate, and a magnificent chase across a frozen lake, with the lovers pursued by a ravenous pack of wolves.
"At once a summary and a swan song of the Swedish film" (Arthur Knight, The Liveliest Art), The Saga of Gösta Berling was the last major film produced during Sweden's first golden age. Soon after, many of Sweden's leading stars and directors, including Stiller, Garbo and Hanson, were coaxed to Hollywood, and Sweden would enter a decades-long drought during which few of its films would receive international attention. Now, after more than 80 years, The Saga of Gösta Berling can be revisited and appreciated as one of the pinnacles of early Swedish cinema.
Kino's DVD edition of The Saga of Gösta Berling presents the film in a newly remastered version, and it is accompanied by a magnificent new orchestral score.
"Full of Dickensian characters and upper-class intrigues...the film made Garbo a star, but Gerda Lundequist's two-fisted dowager is equally riveting. B+" - ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY