Sam Persson is released from a mental hospital. He goes to Stockholm to meet a man he hates, theater manager Stig Brender. In Brender's office they get into a fight and Persson falls down ...
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Since Sjunde himlen (1956) Dr. Lovisa Sundelius (Sickan Carlsson) and radio host Villy Lorens (Hasse Ekman) have married, but when Villy becomes a TV host with cutie Suss (Lena Granhagen) by his side, things start to fall apart.
Sam Persson is released from a mental hospital. He goes to Stockholm to meet a man he hates, theater manager Stig Brender. In Brender's office they get into a fight and Persson falls down dead. Brender uses his car to get rid of the body in a park. However, the following day he is visited by police inspector Envall, who wants to talk to him. Brender's lies and strange behavior is no match for some thorough police work. Written by
Hasse Ekman engineers a cover-up after being attacked by madman Bengt Ekerot
Hasse Ekman stars in the excellent film noir "På en bänk i en park" (1960) that he also wrote and directed. He plays a stage actor and director who is assailed by a recently-released mental patient, the paranoid Bengt Ekerot, with intent to kill him using a hammer. Ekman and Ekerot were boyhood friends before Ekman caught Ekerot molesting Ekman's first love. This led to Ekerot's expulsion from school. The girl became pregnant and died 7 months later in a miscarriage. Ekerot developed a hatred of successful people and especially the success of stage actor Ekman.
Ekerot dies in the backstage fight and Ekman, not wanting to jeopardize the play that will open in just a few days, disposes of the body by placing it on a bench in a park. This initiates a nightmare of snowballing complications that are developed and photographed in a classic noir mode. Think "Woman in the Window" (1944) or "Quicksand" (1950), although this story has no femme fatale and is very different. The stage background reminds one also of "A Double Life" (1947), and although Ekman is by no means mad, there is something of a transference of Ekerot's instability to him during his cover-up, a doppelgänger effect. We learn in fact that as youths they swore to be blood brothers.
The opening sequence involves the release of Ekerot from the asylum. This establishes an uneasy feeling of submerged unreality that pervades reality or overcomes reality, a feeling as if we are seeing the surface of deeply-hidden motives, a feeling of hidden human plots in the events being shown. The camera shows trees briefly but then slowly pans over the asylum wall during the credits, blocking out normality, indicating a fixation. Above the wall are barred windows in the background. A man in a white coat lets Ekerot out. Alone he walks the wall's length, a small figure carrying a suitcase. He enters a wooded area bounded by two fences, and we see him through a chain link fence. He emerges finally physically free at a dirt road. Later, he buys a newspaper, boards a train, sees a photo of the famous Ekman and marks it. Soon after, he buys a hammer, choosing a size for pictures that are heavy. Ekerot is then mistaken for someone else, rather curtly fending off the inquiry. This man is not right. Throughout this sequence, we feel the tension of his hidden plan.
Ekman's character is introduced at a rehearsal for the upcoming premiere. Everyone is on edge. He rehearses a scene that involves a shooting and murder. Ekman's wife, Lena Grenhagen, is introduced early on when Ekerot makes a call to locate Ekman. She's a vocalist who sings the song "On a Bench in a Park", a love song whose lyric adds to the atmosphere, with references to "my dream", "they forgot both time and space", "I wished time would stop", "without beginning or end".
Although the flow of events destabilizes Ekman's world and he experiences some panic and must hastily improvise and cope with his cover-up, he maintains a good deal of poise, confidence, persistence and even humor. The movie does not come across as depressing or morose, despite all. There are quirky characters and dark humor throughout, even or especially within his dreams that show exaggerated imaginings and fears. Just as Edward G. Robinson wakes from a dream, Ekman's world does not completely collapse and he emerges from his trials.
This movie is artfully and skillfully done. Ekman makes use of young people at a number of places. They steal his car, spy on him and interrupt him, wanting a photograph. He encounters a blind man who may not be entirely blind. Ordinary workers and shopkeepers play a part. The police inspector, Sigge Fürst, has a critical role. There is perhaps some debt in this movie not only to Lang but also to Hitchcock, but it's certainly not a glaring or obtrusive debt.
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