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also known as Herr Arnes pengar

Sir Arne's Treasure1919

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  • 4.5
A key film from Sweden's first golden age of filmmaking, SIR ARNE'S TREASURE (HERR ARNES PENGAR) has long ranked among the most famous (and famously hard-to-find) classics of the silent era. Now restored by the Swedish Film Institute and featuring a magnificent score by Matti Bye and Fredrik Emilson, this landmark work by master filmmaker Mauritz Stiller can finally be seen in its glory. In 16th-century Sweden, the lives of three Scottish mercenaries and an aging Swedish vicar and his family intersect, and in the unspeakable crime that results, a small coastal community is forever altered. As the three mercenaries struggle to escape from the town, they find that nature has conspired against them (all outbound ships are frozen in the ice) forcing them to remain until the tragic tale reaches its catastrophic conclusion. Made at a time when Sweden was a dominating force in international cinema, SIR ARNE'S TREASURE shows Mauritz Stiller at the peak of his filmmaking powers, working with Nobel Prize-winning author Selma Lagerlöf. Aided by the pioneering cinematographer Julius Jaenzon (THE OUTLAW AND HIS WIFE), Stiller fills every frame with ice and snow to emphasize the oppressiveness of the freezing conditions and the forbidding terrain. Rarely has winter seemed so threatening, and rarely has the landscape of Sweden been used to such magnificent effect.


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Member Reviews (4)

top reviewer

Mauritz Stiller's Sir Arne's Treasure (1919) is a great film. It has a twisty, interesting crime narrative, well conceived characters, great acting, and wonderful cinematography, particularly of the formidable Swedish winter landscape. This film is just a good example of effective cinematic storytelling. It just "spins a good yarn", and that's good enough for me.

This film is a must see it is a fine film no a great film in every way starting with the plot of three escaped mercenaries who go on a journey that leads to the murder of an innocent family and friends all for a treasure they had heard rumors of.This was all done by a great director who would know as Mauritz Stiller the beauty he caught on film amongst this landscape of sweden could only give more life to the story these actors wanted to help bring to the screen along with the direction of Stiller and the photography of Julius Jaenzon you can't go wrong,this is a great film of the 1st golden age of swedish cinema.

There is such an incredible comprehension of shot choice in relation to the staging of action (within the frame, and between frames) that raises Stiller and Jaenzon's cinematic approach towards a height of cinema that was quite beyond their contemporaries, and Sir Arn's Treasure is great evidence of such mastery! Even in the simple staging of the leap frog sequence, and the subsequent guard struggle, there is such a clear understanding of how to communicate the shifting interrelationships on both a physical and psychological level that allows for easy audience identification, which is often minimal in other work of his contemporaries.

I love the Swedish cinema of this era. There was no other cinema in the world that struck out into the outdoors and made the landscape and the elements such a vital part of the cinematic world and a reflection of the emotional drama of the characters.