16 February 2019

Photo by Svenska Biografteatern

AB Svenska Biografteatern, also called Svenska Bio, was a film company operating between 1907 and 1919. During the 1910s, Svenska Bio became internationally recognised with films directed by the former stage directors Victor Sjöström and Mauritz Stiller. In 1913, Sjöström directed Ingeborg Holm (1913), which is now considered the first classic of Swedish cinema. A year later, Svenska Bio introduced feature films in the Swedish cinema. In 1919 Svenska Bio merged with Filmindustri AB Skandia and continued its operations as Svensk Filmindustri AB.

Mary Johnson
Mary Johnson. Swedish postcard by Förlag Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1054. Photo: A.B. Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm.

Harriet Bosse
Harriet Bosse. Swedish postcard by Förlag Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1056. Photo: A.B. Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm.

Lili Beck
Lili Beck. Swedish postcard by Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm, no. 10. Photo: Ferd. Flodin, Stockholm.

Victor Sjöström
Victor Sjöström. Swedish postcard by Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm, no. 12. Photo: Ferd. Flodin, Stockholm.

Richard Lund
Richard Lund. Swedish postcard by Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm, no. 13. Photo: Ferd. Flodin, Stockholm.

Lars Hanson
Swedish postcard by Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm, no. 14. Photo: Ferd. Flodin, Stockholm. Lars Hanson's last name is spelled Hansson on this card.

The first Swedish film studio


Sweden has only a small population, but no other country matched the fame of the Swedish cinema during the 1910s and 1920s. The main Swedish studio at the time was AB Svenska Biografteatern, or Svenska Bio.

AB Svenska Biografteatern was formed in 1907 through a conversion of Handelsbolaget Kristianstad Biograf-Teater with a share capital of SEK 150,000 and Nils H. Nylander as the first CEO. At first, the company owned about twenty cinemas and had 170 employees.

The company was based in Kristianstad and engaged in production, distribution and exhibition of films. Svenska Bio produced the first Swedish city films in 1907. These were films that portrayed the places where cinemas were opened.

In 1909, Charles Magnusson became the new CEO, and he would become the major, central figure in Swedish film life. Thanks to him, the number of cinemas grew to some forty around the country. AB Svenska Biografteatern inaugurated in March 1909 its newly built film palace in Kristianstad. In addition to the cinema Cosmorama (about 300 seats), the building also houses workshops, offices, film stores, laboratories and a film studio, that was Sweden's first. The film palace is now the Film Museum in Kristianstad.

Four years later Svenska Bio was the only major player in the Swedish production market. Pathé withdrew after a clash with the Swedish censorship board. Most smaller film companies went bankrupt when multiple film-reel became the new film mode. So Svenska Bio became a monopolist in Sweden and even began to export films to other European nations.

John Ekman
John Ekman. Swedish postcard by Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm, no. 18. Photo: Ferd. Flodin, Stockholm.

Jenny Larsson aka Jenny Tschernichin-Larsson
Jenny Larsson aka Jenny Tschernichin-Larsson. Swedish postcard by Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm, no. 19. Photo: Ferd. Flodin, Stockholm.

Stina Berg
Stina Berg. Swedish postcard by Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm, no. 21. Photo: Ferd. Flodin, Stockholm.

Albin Lavén
Albin Lavén. Swedish postcard by Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm, no. 22. Photo: Ferd. Flodin, Stockholm.

Adolf Niska
Adolf Niska. Swedish postcard by Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm, no. 25. Photo: Ferd. Flodin, Stockholm.

Karin Molander
Karin Molander. Swedish postcard by Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm, no. 71. Photo: Ferd. Flodin, Stockholm.

The earliest masterpiece in the Swedish silent film


In 1911 Svenska Bio moved to Lidingö, a municipality east of Stockholm. In 1912, three directors were working at the studio: Georg af Klercker, who was also the studio manager, and the stage directors Mauritz Stiller and Victor Sjöström. Magnusson had hired them both as actor-director. The two would become Sweden's most famous film pioneers.

Stiller and Sjöström came to record some sixty films in Lidingöateljén up until 1917. Ingeborg Holm (Victor Sjöström, 1913) is considered the earliest masterpiece in the Swedish silent film. The film tells the story of Ingeborg Holm who loses her mind when she loses her husband and children. The social commentary in the film lead to a heated debate about the shortcomings of poor care.

Other famous films made in Sweden during that time are Terje Vigen (Victor Sjöström, 1917) after a script by Gustaf Molander, Berg-Ejvind och hans hustru/The Outlaw and His Wife (Victor Sjöström, 1918), and Herr Arnes pengar/Sir Arne's Treasure (Mauritz Stiller, 1919) and others.

In 1914, the company began production and screenings of Svenska Bios weekly. These were the first Swedish film journals. In 1919 Svenska Bio bought land in Råsunda, where the studio planned to build a film city with two studios.

Later in 1919 the company joined forces with Filmindustri AB Skandia, founded a year before in 1918, to form the new Svensk Filmindustri AB. The new company, the biggest film studio in Sweden, had its entire business gathered in the newly built film town, and owned a portfolio of 70 cinemas, then one tenth of the total number of permanent cinemas in Sweden.

A year later, the name of the Svenska Bios weekly was changed to the SF journal and continued to be produced under its new name until 1960.

Lars Hanson in Sängen om den eldröda blomman (1919)
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 550. Photo: Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm. Publicity still of Lars Hanson' and Lillebil Christensen in Sängen om den eldröda blomman/The Song of the Red Flower (Mauritz Stiller, 1919).

Karin Molander in Tösen från Stormyrtorpet (1917)
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 843. Photo: Svenska Biografteatern AB. Publicity still for Tösen från Stormyrtorpet/The Girl from the Marsh Croft (Victor Sjöström, 1917), with Karin Molander. Caption: Hildur dressed up as bride.

Berg-Ejvind och hans hustru/The Outlaw and His Wife (1918)
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 844/8. Photo: Svenska Biografteatern AB. Publicity still of Victor Sjöström and Edith Erastoff in Berg-Ejvind och hans hustru/The Outlaw and His Wife (Victor Sjöström, 1918). Caption: Outside society.

Victor Sjöström in Thomas Graals bästa film (1917)
Swedish postcard by Ed. Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 876/3. Photo: Svenska Biografteatern AB. Publicity still for Thomas Graals bästa film/Thomas Graal's Best Film (Mauritz Stiller, 1917), with Victor Sjöström. Caption: The author Thomas Graal at sea.

Hauk Aabel and Stina Stockenstam in Alexander den Store
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 877/1. Photo: Svenska Biografteatern AB. Publicity still for the comedy Alexander den Store/Alexander the Great (Mauritz Stiller, 1917) with Hauk Aabel and Stina Stockenstam. The story of the film deals with a provincial hotel cook, named Alexander the Great, in whose restaurant not only the dishes can be spicy. Caption: Alexander has rediscovered his beloved from his youth.

Lars Hanson in Sången om den eldröda blomman (1919)
Swedish postcard by Forlag Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 993. Photo: Svenska Biografteatern, Stockholm. Publicity still for Sången om den eldröda blomman/Flame of Life (Mauritz Stiller, 1919) with Lars Hanson'.

Richard Lund in Sir Arne's Treasure
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1078/8. Richard Lund, Bror Berger and Erik Stocklassa in Herr Arnes pengar/Sir Arne's Treasure (Mauritz Stiller, 1919). Caption: On the Lookout.

Klostret i Sendomir (1920)
Swedish postcard by Förlag Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1092/15. Photo: Svenska Biografteatern. Publicity still for Klostret i Sendomir/The Monastery of Sendomir (Victor Sjöström, 1920) with Tore Svennberg and Tora Teje.

Karin Ingmarsdotter (1920)
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1093/8. Photo: Svenska Biografteatren AB. Publicity still for Karin Ingmarsdotter/God/s Way/Karin Daughter of Ingmar (Victor Sjöström, 1920), starring Tora Teje and with Nils Lundell. It is the second part in Sjöström's large-scale adaption of Selma Lagerlöf's novel 'Jerusalem', following Sons of Ingmar from the year before, and depicting chapter three and four from the novel.

Karin Molander in Fiskebyn
Swedish postcard by Förlag Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1094/4. Photo: Svenska Biografteatern. Publicity still of Karin Molander and Egil Eide in Fiskebyn/The Fishing Village/Chains (Mauritz Stiller, 1920).

Sources: Douglas Gomery, Clara Pafort-Overduin (Movie History: A Survey), Nils Kim Gustafsson (Voodoo Film - Swedish), Wikipedia (Swedish) and IMDb.

15 February 2019

Renée Björling

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

Renée Björling in Carolina Rediviva
Swedish postcard by Förlag Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1116/4. Renée Björling in the Swedish silent film Carolina Rediviva (1920), directed by Ivan Hedqvist, who also played one of the leads.

Renée Björling
Swedish postcard by Förlag Nordisk Konst, no. 1190. Photo: Ferd. Flodin, Stockholm.

Renée Björling
Swedish postcard by Förlag Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1275. Photo: M. Benkow, Atelier Kronen, Stockholm.

Renée Björling
Swedish postcard by Exclusive Ljunggrens Konstförlag, Stockholm, No. 220. Photo: Atelier Gösta Hard.

The Quest for Happiness


Renée Louise Björling was born in 1888 in Lovö, Sweden. Her mother was 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 Fadren/Father (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/Give Me My Son (John W. Brunius, 1920) with Tore Svennberg, Vallfarten till Kevlaar/The Pilgrimage to Kevlaar (Ivan Hedqvist, 1921) with Torsten Bergström, and Fröken Fob (Elis Ellis, 1923) with Rudolph Forster.

Later films include Norrtullsligan/The Nurtull Gang (Per Lindberg, 1923) with Tora Teje, Carl XIIs Kurir/King Karl XII's Courier (Rudolph Antoni, 1924) with Gösta Ekman and Nils Asther, Livet pa landet/Life in the Country (Ivan Hedqvist, 1924), Halta Lena och Vindögda Per/Limping Lena and Cockeyed Peter (Sigur Wallén, 1925), and Tva konungar/Two Kings (Elis Ellis, 1925).

Her last silent parts were in the farce Charlis tant/Charlie's Aunt (Elis Ellis, 1926), and Gustav Wasa del I/Gustav Wasa, Part One (John W. Brunius, 1928) with Gösta Ekman in the lead.

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/?. 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.

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.

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.

Ingmar Bergman


In the early 1930s, Renée Björling played parts in Vi som gar köksvägen/Servant's Entrance (Gustav Molander 1932) and the sequel Vi som går kjøkkenveien/We who walk the kitchen path (Tancred Ibsen, 1933). During the war years, Björling had two leads in Gustav Molander's Striden går vidare/The Fight Continues (1941) opposite Victor Sjöström, and in Släkten är bäst/The family is best (Ragnar Falck, 1944) with Sigurd Wallén.


Björling also appeared in small parts in several films of Ingmar Bergman. She was Aunt Elisabeth in Sommarlek/Summer Interlude (Ingmar Bergman, 1961) starring Maj-Britt Nilsson, and also appeared 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). Bergman also directed Björling four times at the Dramaten, e.g. in 1964 in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler.

Among her later films were Sceningang/Stage Door (Bengt Ekerot, 1958), written by Erland Josephson, and Kvinnen i leopard/The Woman with the Fur Coat (Jan Molander, 1958), starring Harriet Andersson. She also acted twice on television, in the 1955 American TV series Foreign Intrigue, and as Mrs. Higgins in Pygmalion in 1968, starring Gunnar Björnstrand (Henry Higgins) and Harriet Andersson (Eliza Doolittle). On stage she had already played Mrs. Higgins at the Dramaten in 1952, opposite Lars Hanson and Anita Björk.

At the Dramaten, she acted in some 130 stage plays. Her partners included Gunnar Björnstrand (e.g. Molière's L'Avare in 1935), Lars Hanson (e.g. William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in 1936), Anita Björk (e.g. L'Invitation au Château by Jean Anouilh in 1951), Jarl Kulle (e.g. in Aeschylus' Oresteia in 1954), or Gunn Wållgren (e.g. in Ivanov by Anton Chekhov in 1957).

Björling worked several times with Alf Sjöberg at Dramaten. First as an actor (e.g. in Madame Sans-Gêne by Victorien Sardou and Émile Moreau in 1927), and then as a director (e.g. in Les Mouches by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1945, with Stig Järrel and Mai Zetterling), as well as Mimi Pollak, also as an actress (e.g. in The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov in 1946) and as director (e.g. in A Flea in Her Air by Georges Feydeau in 1968).

Renée Björling stopped her film and TV career in 1968. She had played in some 40 silent and sound films. On stage, she performed for the last time at the Dramaten in 1971, in Euripides' Les Troyennes (in an adaptation by Jean-Paul Sartre), with Gunnel Lindblom and Mona Malm.

Renée Björling died in 1975 in Täby. She lies buried at Skogskyrkogården cemetery in Stockholm. 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 and Tora Teje in Klostret i Sendomir (1920)
Swedish postcard by Förlag Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1092/3. Photo: publicity still for Klostret i Sendomir/The Monastery of Sendomir (Victor Sjöström, 1920) with Renée Björling and Tora Teje.

Tora Teje and Renée Björling in Klostret i Sendomir (1920)
Swedish postcard by Förlag Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1092/4. Photo: publicity still for Klostret i Sendomir/The Monastery of Sendomir (Victor Sjöström, 1920) with Tora Teje and Renée Björling.

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

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.

Pauline Brunius, Tore Svennberg, Renée Björling, Paul Seelig in En vildfagel (1921)
Swedish postcard by Axel Eliassons Konstförlag, no.288, Stockholm. Photo: Skandia-Film / Svensk Filmindustri. Publicity still for the drama En vildfågel/My adopted son (John W. Brunius, 1921) with Pauline Brunius, Tore Svennberg, Renée Björling and Paul Seelig.

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

14 February 2019

Richard Lund

Richard Lund (1885–1960) was a Swedish film and theatre actor, who had a prolific career in the films of Victor Sjöström and Mauritz Stiller. He starred in such Swedish silent films as Herr Arnes pengar/Sir Arne's Treasure (Mauritz Stiller, 1919).

Richard Lund
Swedish postcard by Svenska Biografteatern, no. 12. Photo: Ferd. Flodin, Stockholm.

Richard Lund in Sir Arne's Treasure (1919)
Swedish postcard by Förlag Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no 1078/1. Richard Lund as Sir Archi(e) in Herr Arnes pengar/Sir Arne's Treasure (Mauritz Stiller, 1919).

The first film that influenced the public debate


Richard Lund was born in Göteborg (Gothenburg), Sweden, in 1885.

He made his stage debut at the Stora Teatern (The Old Theatre) in Göteborg in 1904. He later came to work in ensembles under such varied theatre directors as Hjalmar Selander, Ivan Hedqvist and Karl Gerhard. In 1909 he played in a stage adaptation of Maurice Leblanc’s Arsène Lupin at the Stockholm Oscarteatern.

In 1912 Lund began his – long-lasting - career as a film actor and would appear in 73 films between 1912 and 1952. He played his most important roles during the silent film era. He debuted at the company Svenska Biografteatern in Victor Sjöström’s film Ett hemligt giftermål eller Bekännelsen på dödsbädden/A Secret Marriage or Confession on His Deathbed (1912), distributed in the US as A Ruined Life, and with Hilda Borgström in the female lead. The film also was the debut for actress Greta Almroth.

Lund became a regular at Svenska Bio, often cast as the young, handsome love interest. In 1913 he acted in Mauritz Stiller’s smuggler’s drama På livets ödesvägar/The Smugglers/ The Fisherman’s Son (1913) with the Danish actors Carlo and Clara Wieth. It was followed by a series of films by Victor Sjöström: Löjen och tårar/Laughter and Tears (1913), Livets konflikter/The Conflicts of Life (1913), Lady Marions sommarflirt/Lady Marion's Summer Flirtation (1913), and Ingeborg Holm (1913). Apart from Löjen och tårar, Hilda Borgström was his co-star in all these films.

Mauritz Stiller directed Richard Lund in the films Gränsfolken/Brother against Brother (1913) and Den moderna suffragetten/The Modern Suffragette (1913). Then followed Blodets röst/The Voice of Passion (Victor Sjöström, 1913) with Sjöström himself in the lead.

While many of these films are lost, Ingeborg Holm (Victor Sjöström, 1913) remains and shows the troubles of a grocer’s widow (Hilda Borgström) who falls down the social ladder and is forced to move to the poor house where her children are taken from her. Lund plays the doctor at the poor house. With its social critique, it was the first film in Sweden - and possibly globally - that influenced the public debate and brought about changes. It is also remarkable for its restrained performance and sophisticated staging.

Richard Lund
Swedish postcard by Ljunggrens Konstförlag, Stockholm, no. 212. Photo: Atelier Gösta Hard.

Richard Lund
Swedish postcard by Ljunggrens Konstförlag, Stockholm, no. 213. Photo: Atelier Gösta Hard.

An incomplete copy found in Zaragoza


In 1914, Richard Lund’s career at Svenska Bio was confirmed in 1914 with Stormfågeln/Stormy Petrel (Mauritz Stiller, 1914) starring Lilli Bech (or Beck), and För sin kärleks skull/Because of Her Love (1914) with Lilli Bech and Victor Sjöström.

That year, he also appeared in five films by Victor Sjöström: Prästen/The Clergyman (1914) with Egil Eide and Clara Wieth, Kärlek starkare än hat eller Skogsdotterns hemlighet/The Poacher (1914) with John Ekman, Hjärtan som mötas/Hearts That Meet (1914) with Alfred Lundberg and Karin Molander, Dömen icke/Judge Not (1914) with Nils Arehn and Hilda Borgström, and Bra flicka reder sig själv/A Good Girl Keeps Herself in Good Order (1914) with Clara Wieth.

In 1915 followed ten new films. Lund made again five films with Sjöström: Strejken/The Strike (1915), Skomakare, bliv vid din läst/Stick to Your Last, Shoemaker (1915), Landshövdingens döttrar/The Governor's Daughters (1915), I prövningens stund/In the Hour of Trial (1915), and Det var i maj/It Was in May (1915).

He also made four films with Mauritz Stiller: Lekkamraterna/Playmates (1915), Hämnaren/The Avenger (1915), Hans hustrus förflutna/His Wife's Past (1915), Hans bröllopsnatt/His Wedding Night (1915). He also appeared in Hans faders brott/His Father's Crime (Fritz Magnussen, 1915).

From 1916, the number of films in which Lund played went down but some of his most memorable film titles date from the late 1910s and early 1920s. In 1916, he played in Lyckonålen/The Lucky Brooch (Mauritz Stiller, 1916), Kärlek och journalistik/Love and Journalism (Mauritz Stiller, 1916), Kampen om hans hjärta/The Fight for His Heart (Mauritz Stiller, 1916) and Havsgamar/Predators of the Sea (Victor Sjöström, 1916).

Lund also acted Balettprimadonnan/Anjala the Dancer (Mauritz Stiller, 1916) opposite the debuting Jenny Hasselqvist and rising star Lars Hanson, who had debuted in 1915. The film deals with a violin player (Hanson) who discovers a peasant girl (Hasselqvist) and promotes her as a dancer but a scheming count (Lund) separates the two by offering the violin player a training abroad. Balettprimadonnan was an international success and distributed all over the world. Two copies of the film sent by ship to England disappeared when the ship was torpedoed and sunk in autumn 1917. The film was long considered as lost, but in 1995 an incomplete copy of the film was found in Zaragoza in Spain and restored and reconstructed, using still images and copyright information.

Richard Lund in Sir Arne's Treasure
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1078/8. Richard Lund, Bror Berger and Erik Stocklassa in Herr Arnes pengar/Sir Arne's Treasure (Mauritz Stiller, 1919). Caption: On the Lookout.

Richard Lund in Sir Arne's Treasure
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1078/12. Richard Lund and Mary Johnson in the Swedish silent film Herr Arnes pengar/Sir Arne's Treasure (Mauritz Stiller, 1919). Caption: They have come now to arrest you, escape!

The Masterpiece of the Swedish Silent Cinema


In 1917, Richard Lund did not act in any films by Stiller nor Sjöström, but instead in two by Fritz Magnussen, one by Egil Eide (who had become director) and two by Konrad Tallroth. No films with Lund were released in 1918.

In  1919, Lund appeared in his best-known film role, that of Sir Archie in Herr Arnes pengar/Sir Arne's Treasure (Mauritz Stiller, 1919). In this crime-drama based on Selma Lagerlöf’s novel 'The Treasure', and set on the Swedish coast in the 16th century, Lund is a Scottish mercenary who, together with his cronies Sir Donald (Bro Berger) and Sir Filip (Erich Stocklassa), has escaped from a Scottish prison and fled to Sweden. There, he murders the family of Sir Arne to obtain a treasure, after which he unknowingly starts an affair with the daughter of the murdered family, Elsalill (Mary Johnson).

Sir Arne’s Treasure still goes as one of - if not the - masterpiece(s) of the Swedish silent cinema. Jerzy Toeplitz wrote in his 'Geschichte des Films' (1972): “As with Sjöström, Nature plays a leading role in Stiller's film. Already in the first images, the snow creates the atmosphere of the action. In the tragic finale, the sea becomes a contributor. In the small port of Marstrand lies the ship that should return the Scots to their home. But it is wedged by ice floes.

When the situation is strained to the utmost because the forces of nature cannot be conquered, in the city the news spreads that the criminals want to flee. In the battle with the town guards, Elsalill dies and Sir John Archie is captured. A long train of gray-clad women arrives at the ship to take off the corpse of Elsalill, after which the ice bursts and the occupied ship begins to move. Too late the silent, dangerous sea shows up.”

Next, Lund acted as the antagonist in Klostret i Sendomir/The Monastery of Sendomir (Victor Sjöström, 1920), based on an 1828 short story by Franz Grillparzer. It deals with a monk (Tore Svennberg) who tells two visitors how the convent was built by a repentant count who killed his unfaithful and treacherous wife (Tora Teje) after he had discovered she had a long-standing affair with her cousin Oleg (Richard Lund) and even his child was not his own. The monk proves to be the count himself. In Germany a competing version was made in 1919 by Union, starring Ellen Richter and Eduard von Winterstein, and causing a fierce battle over the release over the two films in Sweden.

Tora Teje and Richard Lund in Klostret i Sendomir (1920)
Swedish postcard by Förlag Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1092/6. Photo: publicity still for Klostret i Sendomir/The Monastery of Sendomir (Victor Sjöström, 1920) with Tora Teje and Richard Lund.

Tore Svennberg, Richard Lund and Tora Teje in Klostret i Sendomir (1920)
Swedish postcard by Förlag Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1092/11. Photo: publicity still for Klostret i Sendomir/The Monastery of Sendomir (Victor Sjöström, 1920) with Tore Svennberg, Richard Lund and Tora Teje.

A foundling left at the university gate


Richard Lund’s following film was Carolina Rediviva (Ivan Hedqvist, 1920), a film set in the Uppsala university world, in which Renée Björling plays a foundling, whose mother Lina has left her at the university gate, to be adopted by students, and whose identity once revealed causes scandal in the academic world. Lund is Björling’s love interest.

In Det omringade huset/The Surrounded House (Victor Sjöström, 1922). Lund was the brother of the leading character Mary (Meggie Albanesi), while co-actors were Victor Sjöström, Uno Henning and Ivan Hedqvist. Lund’s last silent films were Livet på landet/Life in the Country (Ivan Hedqvist, 1924), Farbror Frans/Uncle Frans (Sigurd Wallén, 1926), and Dollarmillionen (Sigurd Wallén, 1926).

Lund easily made the passage to Swedish sound cinema, starting with Konstgjorda Svensson (Gustaf Edgren, 1929), although that was a part-talkie. Lund also had a major part in Hjärtats röst (Rune Carlsen, 1930), shot at Les Studios Paramount outside Paris, and based on Alden Arthur Knipes’ novel 'Sarah and Son', which had been filmed in the US under its original title in 1930 by Dorothy Arzner.

However, in the 1930s Lund’s prime was past and his parts became smaller as in Valborgsmässoafton/Walpurgis Night (Gustav Edgren 1935), starring Lars Hanson, Victor Sjöström and a young Ingrid Bergman. Until 1952 Lund continued to act small parts, even uncredited, in Swedish sound films, all in all, some 35 films from 1930 onwards.

Still, it was clear Richard Lund had peaked in the silent era of the 1910s and early 1920s. Lund died in Mölndal in 1960.

Renée Björling and Richard Lund in Carolina Rediviva
Swedish postcard by Nordisk Konst, Stockholm, no. 1116/1. Photo: publicity still of Renée Björling and Richard Lund in Carolina Rediviva (1920), directed by Ivan Hedqvist, who also played one of the leads.

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 Renée Björling and Richard Lund.

Richard Lund
Swedish postcard by Axel Eliassons Konstförlag, Stockholm, no. 255. Photo: Gösta Hard.

Sources: The Swedish Film database, Wikipedia (Swedish and English), and IMDb.