Pages

18 October 2015

Renée Björling

Renée Björling (1888-1975) was a Swedish film and stage actress, who peaked in the Swedish silent cinema, but also played small parts in Ingmar Bergman's films.

Renée Björling and Richard Lund in Carolina Rediviva (1920)
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1116/2. Photo: publicity still for Carolina Rediviva (Ivan Hedqvist, 1920) with Richard Lund.

Dunungen
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1091/?. Photo: publicity still for the Swedish silent film Dunungen/In Quest of Happiness (Ivan Hedqvist, 1919), based on a novel by Selma Lagerlöf. The man in the middle is director Ivan Hedqvist as Theodor and the lady on the left is Jenny Tschernichin-Larsson, who plays Teodor's mother.

The Quest for Happiness


Renée Louise Björling, born in 1888 in Lovö, was the daughter of actress Manda Björling (1876–1960). Her half-sister was opera singer Sigurd Björling (1907–1983).

Renée Björling debuted in 1909 on stage and studied stage acting in 1915-1917 at the Dramatens elevskola. Afterwards she acted at various theatres, e.g. the Nya Teatern, Lorensbergsteatern and the Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern (now Dramaten).

As film actress, she debuted in 1912 in Fadren (Anna Hofman-Uddgren, 1912), based on a play by August Strindberg. Björling played Bertha, daughter of the protagonist Adolf (August Falck). Afterwards she acted e.g. in the title role in Dunungen/The Quest for Happiness (Ivan Hedqvist, 1919) opposite Hedqvist himself, as Dortka in Victor Sjöström’s Klostret i Sendomir/The Monastery of Sendomir (1920) with Tore Svennberg and Tora Teje, and as the lead of Carol[in]a in Carolina Rediviva (Ivan Hedqvist, 1920) with, again, Hedqvist himself.

Her silent career continued to flower with films such as En vildfagel (John W. Brunius, 1920) with Tore Svennberg, Vallfarten till Kevlaar (Ivan Hedqvist,1921) with Torsten Bergström and after Heine, Fröken Fob (Elis Ellis, 1923) with Rudolph Forster, Norrtullsligan/The Nurtull Gang (Per Lindberg, 1923) with Tora Teje, Carl XIIs Kurir (Rudolph Antoni, 1924) with Gösta Ekman and Nils Asther, Livet pa landet/Life in the Country (Ivan Hedqvist, 1924), Halta Lena och Vindögda Per (Sigur Wallén, 1925), and Tva konungar (Elis Ellis, 1925).

Her last silent parts were in Charlis tant (Elis Ellis ,1926), and Gustav Wasa del I (John W. Brunius, 1928) with Gösta Ekman in the lead.


Renée Björling and Richard Lund in Carolina Rediviva
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1116/1. Renée Björling and Richard Lund in the Swedish silent film Carolina Rediviva (Ivan Hedqvist, 1920).

Dunungen
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1091/10. Photo: publicity still for the Swedish silent film Dunungen/In Quest of Happiness (Ivan Hedqvist 1919), starring Renée Björling and Ivan Hedqvist.

Ingmar Bergman


In the early 1930s, Renée Björling played parts in Vi som gar köksvägen (Gustav Molander 1932) and the sequel Vi som går kjøkkenveien (Tancred Ibsen, 1933), Björling had two leads during the war years in Gustav Molander's Striden går vidare (1941) opposite Victor Sjöström, and in Släkten är bäst (Ragnar Falck, 1944) with Sigurd Wallén.

Björling was also visible in several films of Ingmar Bergman, in small parts, as Aunt Elisabeth in Sommarlek/Summer Interlude (Ingmar Bergman, 1961) starring Maj-Britt Nilsson, in Sommaren med Monika/Summer with Monica (Ingmar Bergman, 1953) starring Harriet Andersson, in En lektion i kärlek/A Lesson in Love (Ingmar Bergman, 1954) with Eva Dahlbeck, and in Kvinnodröm/Dreams (Ingmar Bergman, 1955).

Among her later films were also Sceningang (Bengt Ekerot, 1958), written by Erland Josephson, and Kvinnen i leopard/The Woman with the Fur Coat (Jan Molander, 1958), starring Harriet Andersson.

Renée Björling stopped her film and TV career in 1968. She had played in some 40 silent and sound films. From 1925 to 1932 she had been married to captain Gunnar Ursell and had a daughter Monica with him. Her granddaughter is opera singer Malena Ernman.

Renée Björling died in 1975 in Täby.She lies buried at Skogskyrkogården cemetery in Stockholm.

Dunungen
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1091/1. Publicity still for the Swedish silent film Dunungen/In Quest of Happiness (Ivan Hedqvist 1919), starring Renée Björling and Ragnar Widestedt.

Dunungen
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1091/12. Publicity still for the Swedish silent film Dunungen/In Quest of Happiness (Ivan Hedqvist 1919), starring Renée Björling, Ivan Hedqvist and Ragnar Widestedt.

Sources: Svensk Filmdatabas (Swedish), Wikipedia (Swedish, English and German) and IMDb.

No comments: