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A stranger comes to work at widow Halla's farm. Halla and the stranger fall in love, but when he is revealed as Eyvind, an escaped thief forced into crime by his family's starvation, they flee and become two of the many outlaws of Iceland's mountains. Written by
Erik Gregersen <email@example.com>
I came to this film with great anticipation. The 26th film in Sjostrom's career, a career spanning 25 years (1912-1937)and 54 films, including such late silent classics as THE SCARLET LETTER, HE WHO GETS SLAPPED and his classic, THE WIND. I was bitterly disappointed.
I found the film episodic, pointless, boring and brutal with no point of view. Yes, there are beautiful backdrops of mountain valleys and fjords, but against this is played out a human drama that just doesn't hold together for me.
The plot involves an escaped, falsely convicted thief, who stole out of hunger for his family and who comes to work for a wealthy widow. They fall in love and she makes him steward, to the anger of her brother-in-law, who wants her (and her property) for himself. When the false identity and thievery are discovered the couple flee to the mountains and live the rest of their lives in caves and hovels, seemingly happy but dealing with melodramatic moments (a friend comes to live with them and lusts for the wife, they are discovered by vigilantes so she throws their child off a cliff (duh?????) and runs away with her husband, to be discovered sixteen years later, bitter and at each other's throats, facing a week long blizzard in another hovel.)
Had they not run off but remained within society to face the conflicts inherent midway in the film, it might have been a better script, tighter and with a coherent plot line. What we have here is two films or one short film with an extended epilogue. Nothing about the production was above crudity (elaborate vistas do not cinematography make!).
Coming as it did halfway in his career, it does not show any promise for a man who would later achieve great artistry.
It is interesting that Sjostrom himself plays the lead and his real life wife, the love interest (although having two characters refer to her as exceptionally beautiful when she's as homely as a pig with one ear - is a bit hard to swallow).
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