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Gustav III (1974)

Based on play by famous swedish author/playwright August Strindberg adapted for swedish TV in 70's. It's about the real life assassination on swedish king Gustav III who was killed by a ... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gustav III
De Geer
Per Sjöstrand ...
Rune Hallberg ...


Based on play by famous swedish author/playwright August Strindberg adapted for swedish TV in 70's. It's about the real life assassination on swedish king Gustav III who was killed by a lieutenant Jacob Johan Anckarström who acted on behalf of a group conspirators. Written by curtherzstark

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Drama | History





Release Date:

8 April 1974 (Sweden)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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31 March 2012 | by See all my reviews

2012 marks the anniversary of special occasion, it's been 100 years since famed Swedish playwright/author August Strindbergs death in 14 May 1912. Thus Swedish TV, SVT(Swedish public service network) has been showing some old and new TV productions based on his works.

This one is theater play based on a actual historic event when king Gustav III was assassinated on masquerade ball in 16 mars 1792. The king didn't die right away, he suffered for 13 days until he finally died.

Unfortunatelty I haven't read the play so I don't know really how much of the source material that this TV adaptation has kept. Also, I don't know enough about the historical background to know whether or not Strindberg took a lot artistic liberties with the facts.

All actors are playing on a stage, with well made scenography.

That said, this TV-version features some of Sweden's most notable actors playing an interesting drama. You have one of Sweden's most well liked actors/comedians, Gösta Ekman as the king. Ekman is almost perfect here and plays the king with great subtle, grace and also gives the character some kind of darker tones. It's like the audience can expect his demise.

Tomas Bolme, who nowadays are mostly famous as voice actor for dubbed versions of animated Tintin, Starzinger etc. Bolme plays Armfelt the kings adviser, he also warns of impending danger. He comes across a conniving, cynical, pragmatist who says he acts on behalf of the king but has no problems benefitting himself.

Bolme is very good showcases a much darker type of acting here then he has been given nowadays. Most controversial is probably Jan Nygrens portrayal of African servant Badin. Covered in black makeup with every mannerisms of a very stereotypical "black" character, and with todays standards would probably be deemed as racist.

Strangely Badin comes across as the only person who really cares for the king, arguing with Armfelt about his cynical approach to the king. Stig Järrel as one of the main conspirators, Pechlin, is the one that I'm mostly unhappy about. Pechlin was a real life person who may have been the real mastermind behind the king murder but was only convicted to house arrest and enjoyed a very mild sentence.

Järrel plays him as friendly uncle, none of the more sharper, sarcastic, cynical person that I always depicted him to be. Perhaps Strindberg caught his personality better? Who know, perhaps this is what Pechlin was like?

The other conspirators played by Ingvar Hirdwall, Ulf Brunnberg, Håkan Serner are very good. In Brunnbergs case a smaller feat since he is almost only famous as comedian today.

This one of these rare, well made TV productions SVT are so famous for but strangely SVT have been reluctant or dare I say totally uninterested to release this and many other great TV productions on DVD. And if gets released there will be no extra material, like a documentary, behind the scenes footage etc.

This is real shame, because audience domestic as well as foreign would like this.

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