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The Parson's Widow (1920)

Prästänkan (original title)
A young man is elected by a small village to be its parson. As part of his duties, he is required to marry the widow of the parson before him. This poses two problems--first, the widow is ... See full summary »

Director:

Carl Theodor Dreyer (as Carl Th. Dreyer)

Writers:

Carl Theodor Dreyer (screen adaptation) (as Carl Th. Dreyer), Kristofer Janson (after a story by)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Hildur Carlberg ... Dame Margarete
Einar Röd Einar Röd ... Sofren Ivarson
Greta Almroth ... Mari - His Sweetheart
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Olav Aukrust Olav Aukrust ... First Candidate
Emil Helsengreen Emil Helsengreen ... The Gardener
Mathilde Nielsen Mathilde Nielsen ... Gunvor
Lorentz Thyholt Lorentz Thyholt ... The Beadle
Kurt Welin Kurt Welin ... Second Candidate
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Storyline

A young man is elected by a small village to be its parson. As part of his duties, he is required to marry the widow of the parson before him. This poses two problems--first, the widow is old enough to be his grandmother, and second, he is already engaged to another woman. Written by page8701

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Horror

Certificate:

TV-14
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Details

Country:

Sweden

Language:

Swedish | Danish

Release Date:

4 October 1920 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Parson's Widow See more »

Filming Locations:

Lillehammer, Norway

Company Credits

Production Co:

Svensk Filmindustri (SF) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2003 alternate)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in Carl Th. Dreyer (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Better Beginning
9 June 2005 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

I haven't seen Carl Theodor Dreyer's directorial début, "The President" (Præsidenten), yet. I've seen "Leaves from Satan's Book" (Blade af Satans Bog), however, and it was totally unimpressive. Dreyer took from Griffith's "Intolerance", but didn't even manage a simulacrum of the American director's craft. "The Parson's Widow" is a much better beginning for Denmark's great filmmaker. It is the work of a director coming into his own, even though it's much different in some ways from the rest of his oeuvre.

As with "Leaves from Satan's Book" and his later films, there's the preoccupation with history and religion. But, as others agree, this is Dreyer light. The story of a man who must marry a hag to become a village's parson, and his plots to marry his young fiancée and keep the job despite it is amusing. I thought the devil costume bit was particularly humorous. Dreyer's direction is what makes this worthwhile, though. The quick pace, not lingering on shots and improved camera positioning compared to "Leaves from Satan's Book" make this film more accessible and entertaining.

Dreyer again uses masking and fades extensively, but this time it adds to the style. He gets the most out of the actors. (It shouldn't be underestimated how quicker shot succession can improve, or detract from, otherwise unremarkable acting.) Additionally, the introduction to the past through the waterfall was an especially nice touch. The confining location sets, and more importantly, how Dreyer and cinematographer George Schnéevoigt film them also add greatly to this tightly told film. The small church full of dividers is just a great find, and they use the spaces of the home of the parson's wife very well, with camera placement and continuity editing.


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