"Thomas Graals Bästa Barn" ( Thomas Graal's First Child ) (1918) was the sequel to "Thomas Graals Bästa Film" (1917), again with Herr Mauritz Stiller directing and starring the same Swedish team as the first one, Herr Victor Sjöstrom and Frau Karin Molander playing the main characters. Some longhaired youngsters say that the sequel is never as good as the original but this film disproves them and is even more cynical and amusing than the original.
Frau Bessie, once a madcap, aristocratic and modernen Swedish fraulein, has become now a whimsical and conservative Swedish burgess after her marriage to Herr Thomas Graal. The destabilization of the marriage begins right at the wedding (which contains some hilarious incidents) when Frau Bessie announces the first Graal child must be a girl, creating a terrible conflict with her husband who is hoping for a boy. It takes a scandal to finally end the war between man and wife.
As even any longhaired youngster can see from the main title, finally a baby boy will be born but this doesn't mean that Frau Bessie will be at ease; she becomes very interested in new child rearing methods and neglects her own beauty care, ignoring Herr Graal entirely and making him plot how to regain his former, sexy wife.
The modernity of "Thomas Graals Bästa Barn" is as noteworthy as its many technical virtues. The film illustrates that matrimonial conflicts in the 10s of the last century are not so different from those in the 10s of this modernen age. In a sharp and tenchant way we see the peril of monotony in marriage and how children can ruin passion between a couple, a situation typical of the life of commoners but, fortunately, aristocrats don't suffer such disgraces. Wives of commoners and wives of aristocrats usually do what they please but husbands will deny this (commoners in their taverns, aristocrats in their clubs). Happily Herr Graal's clever plan finally succeeds; they recapture the thrill of their early relationship, no mean feat when boredom threatens a marriage and the husband despairs when his once appealing wife becomes fat after motherhood. Herr Stiller captures these situations with great wit in this excellent picture.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must avoid first-born aristocrats.
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