THE SAGA OF GÖSTA BERLING
Svensk Filmindustri, 1924. Directed by
Mauritz Stiller. Camera: Julius Jaenzon. With Lars Hanson,
Ellen Cederstrom, Mona Martenson, Jenny Hasselquist, Karin Swanstrom, Gerda
Lundequist, Torsten Kammeren, Svend Tornbech, Otto Elg Lundberg, Sixten
Berling (Lars Hanson), a minister, loses his position in the church because
of his overindulgence in alcohol. He becomes involved in high society
and the women that belong to it. He meets Countess Dohna (Greta
Garbo) and falls in love with her.
He sees in her qualities lacking in other women he has known.
Eventually, it is she who helps him to redeem himself.
This was a Swedish film and Garbo's second.
An edited version under the title Legend of Gösta
Berling was released in the United States in 1928. It has also
been called Gösta
Berling's Saga and Atonement of Gösta
Berling. Director Mauritz Stiller was to help Garbo in her
career more than any other person. It was this film that caused
L.B. Mayer to bring the two to Hollywood.
What was said about
The Saga of Gösta Berling:
"Splendid acting and a great woman novelist are the combination that
make The Story of Gösta Berling far and away the best Swedish picture of
the year. Selma Lagerlöf's brilliant novel lends itself well to screen
adaptation. It is a period play of the early nineteenth century in Sweden.
The quaint costumes of the day have been excellently reproduced and the charming
backgrounds faithfully reconstructed. The carefully balanced and
well-selected cast is headed by Jenny Hasselquist, Lars Hanson, and Greta
"Interest lies chiefly in the background, foreign locales unfamiliar to
this side. Also interesting is the appearance of Greta Garbo, totally
unlike the sleeky dame MGM's experts made of her. Still a picture only for
the sure-seat circle...Story based on what is described as a Nobel Prize novel.
Must be another case of a great literary effort lost between the scenario and
the cutting room...Clergyman angle led to the Fifth Avenue Playhouse billing the
picture as the doings of a 'glorified Elmer Gantry'."
The Films of Greta Garbo
by Michael Conway, Dion McGregor,
and Mark Ricci,
Bonanza Books, NY