03 March 2018

Folke Sundquist

Swedish actor Folke Sundquist (1925-2009) appeared in 21 films between 1951 and 1968. He often worked with the directors Arne Mattson and Ingmar Bergman.

Ulla Jacobsson and Folke Sundquist in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, no. 773. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951) with Ulla Jacobsson.

Folke Sundquist in För min heta ungdoms skull (1952)
German postcard by Kunst un Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. A 870. Photo: NF-Film. Publicity still for För min heta ungdoms skull/For the Sake of My Intemperate Youth (Arne Mattson, 1952).

One Summer of Happiness


Folke Sundquist (sometimes written as Sundqvist) was born in 1925 in Falun in central Sweden. After high school, he decided to become an actor and studied drama at the Göteborgs stadsteater (Göteborg City Theatre) in the early 1940s.

In 1946, he made his stage debut there under the direction of Ingmar Bergman in Caligula by Albert Camus. Bergman directed him there also in his play Dagen slutar tidigt (1947) and several other plays. In 1950, he left Göteborg and joined the troupe of the Malmö stadsteater (Malmö City Theatre).

Sundquist had his international breakthrough with his debut film Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattson, 1951), based on the 1949 novel Sommardansen (The Summer Dance) by Per Olof Ekström. He played the male lead as the young and handsome student Göran who spends a summer on his uncle's farm, where he meets the young farmer's daughter Kerstin (Ulla Jacobsson). They instantly fall in love, but Kerstin is ruled by puritanical relatives, so they must hide their love. Their story ends tragically in a motorcycle accident.

Hon dansade en sommar was the first Swedish film to win the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, and was also nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1952 Cannes Film Festival. The film was banned in several countries, because of a nude swimming sequence and a love scene with a close-up of Ulla Jacobsson's breasts, but also because of its anti-clerical message by portraying a local priest as the main villain.

Sundquist also starred in the next films by Arne Mattson, För min heta ungdoms skull/For the Sake of My Intemperate Youth (Arne Mattsson, 1952) with Maj-Britt Nilsson and Aino Taube, which was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival, and the war drama Kärlekens bröd/Bread of Love (Arne Mattsson, 1953) with Georg Rydeberg, which again was entered into the 1954 Cannes Film Festival. He also made with Mattson the coming of age story Salka Valka (Arne Mattson, 1954).

In Germany, he made Die Toteninsel/The island of the dead (Victor Tourjansly, 1955) with Willy Birgel and Inge Egger. He also appeared in Ingmar Bergman’s classic Smultronstället/Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) starring Victor Sjöström in his final screen performance as a grouchy, stubborn and egotistical professor recalling his past, as well as Bergman regulars Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin and Gunnar Björnstrand.

Hal Erickson at AllMovie: “This classic art movie remains one of Bergman's most accessible films and one of the most influential European art movies of its generation. Its intense focus on one man's thoughts, regrets, and memories set the tone for innumerable psychological character studies in its wake.” Sundquist also appeared in Berman’s TV dramas Venetianskan/The Venetian (Ingmar Bergman, 1958) with Maud Hansson and Gunnel Lindblom, and Rabies (Ingmar Bergman, 1958) with Max von Sydow and Bibi Andersson.

Folke Sundquist
Swedish autograph card by Nordisk Tonefilm.

Folke Sundquist
German postcard by Kunst un Bild, Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. A 668. Photo: Constantin Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattson, 1951).

Hour of the Wolf


During the 1960s, Folke Sundquist’s film career slowed down. He appeared opposite Harriet Andersson and Mai Zetterling in Lianbron/The Vine Bridge (1965), directed by famous director of photography Sven Nykvist.

In 1968, he reunited with Ingmar Bergman for a small part in the surrealist–psychological horror–drama Vargtimmen/Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1968), starring Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann. Wikipedia: “Although Hour of the Wolf is seldom listed among Bergman's major works by critics, it was ranked one of the 50 greatest films ever made in a 2012 directors' poll by the British Film Institute.”

Sundquist’s final film was Bamse/My Father's Mistress (1968), a reunion with Arne Mattson and Ulla Jacobsson. He played Christer Berg, who dies in a car crash and is found with a teddy bear named ‘Bamse’. His son, also named Christer (Björn Thambert) finds out that Bamse belongs to his father's lover Barbro Persson (Ulla Jacobsson). He tries to humiliate her, introducing her to his mother as his new fiancee. But he ends up falling in love with her, and she sees in him the memories of her dead lover.

Apart from his film career, Sundquist also appeared in the theatre during the 1950s and 1960s. From 1950, Sundquist was active at the Malmö stadsteater (Malmö City Theatre). For more than thirty years, he established himself there as one of the best actors in his country in such plays as William Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night and As you like it. After his film career ended he continued to act on stage in Malmö, where he appeared in plays by such diverse authors as Jean Anouilh, Witold Gombrowicz, Georges Feydeau, Arthur Miller and Molière. He was also an excellent singer and starred in the musicals Irma La Douce and My Fair Lady. In the 1970s and 1980s he directed plays by authors like August Strindberg, Henrik Ibsen and Jean-Paul Sartre.

In 1983, Sundquist finished his successful career and moved to Greece to devote his years to humanitarian work. Later, he returned to Malmö and fell ill. Folke Sundquist died in 2009 in Malmö, Sweden. He was 83.

Ulla Jacobsson and Folke Sundquist in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German collectors card. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

Ulla Jacobsson and Folke Sundquist in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German collectors card. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

Ulla Jacobsson and Folke Sundquist in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German collectors card. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

Ulla Jacobsson and Folke Sundquist in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German collectors card. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

Sources: Philippe Pelletier (CinéArtistes – French), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Tony Kaplan (Expressen - Swedish), Wikipedia and IMDb.
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