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The Heavenly Play (1942)
"Himlaspelet" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  8 October 1944 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 36 users  
Reviews: 2 user

Mats Ersson is engaged to Marit and they plan to get married in the spring. But when the plague comes, the people accuse Marit of witchcraft. She is sentenced to death. Mats can not ... See full summary »

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Title: The Heavenly Play (1942)

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A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.

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Stars: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rune Lindström ...
Eivor Landström ...
Marit Knutsdotter
Anders Henrikson ...
Holger Löwenadler ...
Gudrun Brost ...
King Salomo's mistress
Arnold Sjöstrand ...
Juvas Anders, painter
Emil Fjellström ...
Gammel-Jerk
Nils Gustafsson ...
Blind man at the road
Hugo Björne ...
Torsten Winge ...
Erik Hell ...
Jon Persson
Åke Claesson ...
Profet Jeremiah (as Åke Claeson)
Björn Berglund ...
Josef
Inga-Lilly Forsström ...
Virgin Mary (as Inga Lilly Forsström)
Lisskulla Jobs ...
Peasant woman
Edit

Storyline

Mats Ersson is engaged to Marit and they plan to get married in the spring. But when the plague comes, the people accuse Marit of witchcraft. She is sentenced to death. Mats can not understand the divine justice and decides to go to paradise and ask God himself. It becomes a journey where he meets the prophets, king Solomon and finally God himself. Written by Mattias Thuresson

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Drama

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Release Date:

8 October 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Heavenly Play  »

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(original release)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A little known fact about this Swedish classic...
2 November 2005 | by (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

This film is rarely seen in North America. As monumental a film as it is in Swedish film history (its influence on Bergman is notorious), it is almost never shown and is not available on DVD. I was lucky enough to have seen it as a child on the Radio-Canada (French) channel on a show called "Ciné-Club", in Québec in the fifties. It struck me then as an amazing supernatural epic but populist drama about life's meaning, in the grand tradition of "Peer Gynt". One scene stayed with me my whole life: The farmer, grown older, richer and bitter, throws a party to flaunt his wealth and nobody shows up but the lame and moribund. Whatever the originality of the film and the play it's based on (written by its star, actor Rune Lindström), this 1942 film plays in many ways like an instant remake of the American classic "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (William Dieterle, 1941). The party scene, in particular, is eerily similar in content, mood and structure to that of the American film, besides the other more obvious common traits in plot (a poor farmer makes a deal with the devil) between the two films. These two films are so similar, in fact, that this should be mentioned in the "Movie Connections" link of both films in the IMDb. Just a thought... It's amazing to think that such an idiosyncratic piece of American mythology like the legend of Daniel Webster and the Devil should end up as part and parcel of the Swedish heritage, but there it is!


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