Swedish painter Anders Zorn gained notoriety for his nudes. His works are currently worth millions. The film is set in the time when Zorn, already respected for his art, was commissioned to paint a portrait of the Swedish king. Though an excellent painter, Zorn's personal life is dreadful. A boozer and a womanizer who frequently cheats on his wife, Zorn constantly seeks approval for his art. When he travels to the U.S. for a tour he meets Emilie Bartlett the wife of sculptor Paul W. Bartlett with whom he begins a sporadic affair. After Paul commits suicide, Zorn and Emilie move to Sweden. Zorn disregards his wife's feelings and openly displays his affections for Emilie.
To put it bluntly I didn't like this film at all. It's about Anders Zorn a Swedish painter acclaimed in the big cities of the world for his stunning portraits of women. Unhappy at home, he spent most of his time capturing their beauty on canvas. And what beauty! The cinemaphotographer has brought to the screen a vivid interpretation of Zorn's work. The paintings actually glow with a soft radiance. Zorn becomes sexually attracted to every pretty model who poses for him. His wife knows it too. Hence the many arguments at home. Individual characterisations are good. Gunnar Hellstrom is believable as the drink-sodden painter who ends up with syphilis and Liv Ullmann as his disagreeable wife Emma maintains her bitterness to the end. The trouble with the film (for me) is that I don't like any of the characters except perhaps for Emelie. Zorn had a special place in his heart for her, but he said he could never paint her face. The reason still escapes me. Be that as it may, the film becomes rather tedious with little drama to give it a lift, except for some frustrating outbursts of anger by the painter. Zorn's drinking partner does little to help things along. Is he supposed to be funny - a kind of comedy relief? The film does portray the exuberance of a man who never tired of a pretty face and who had a special passion for a woman's body. I give high marks for the photography, sets and costumes. It falls short on entertainment value.
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