Masculinity in the Golden Age of Swedish Cinema: A Cultural Analysis of 1920s Films

Masculinity in the Golden Age of Swedish Cinema: A Cultural Analysis of 1920s Films

Tommy Gustafsson

Language: English

Pages: 260

ISBN: 0786494786

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Swedish society underwent great changes during the first decades of the 1900s and the new consumption and entertainment culture came under fire. Children and youth--but also women and the working classes--become symbols of the forces breaking down traditional structures and values. These groups were also identified as the principal audience for the new film medium. Hence, during the silent era, film culture interacted with society at large, filling the screen with contradictory images of diverging masculinities and gender/ethnic relations. In fact, film culture became one of the most important arenas where new gender relations could be articulated. This book covers Swedish film culture throughout the 1920s. It is the first in-depth exploration of Swedish silent film culture that goes beyond the small number of canonized films of the "Swedish Golden Age" that have been discussed as "art" for nearly 100 years. The study is based on extensive research and takes all Swedish feature films produced in the 1920s into consideration, together with a large number of source materials that include fan and trade magazines, manuscripts, censorship records, government reports and some 900 film reviews.

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that children and youth were out of reach of parents and other fosterers. The visible presence of children and youth was perceived as bordering on the criminal: playing ball or marbles, shouting too loudly, fighting or just doing nothing. Such activities could lead to reprimands or arrests by the increasingly numerous—and visible—police constables. The fact that the number of police actions against children and youth was increasing caused members of established society to cry out for even more

“unsound” celebrity cult. This is an example of a new connecting link, a kind of intertextuality, that was created between the real people and the characters they played; this phenomenon arose when mass media coverage increased at the beginning of the 20th century. Alternative Boys and Girl Rascals The impulsive rascal also appears in minor roles in The Queen of Pellagonia (Drottningen av Pellagonien, 1927) and Jansson’s Temptation ( Janssons Frestelse, 1928). However, children’s participation

stepfather Eljas (Nils Lundell) has the opposite affect on his son. In The People of Närke (Närkingarna, 1923) and The People of Värmland (Värmlänningarna, 1921), the sons’ misalliances create conflicts. In both cases, the father characters (played by Gustaf Ranft and Hugo Björne, respectively) have to yield to this modern phenomenon—but not until they have caused great discord within both the family and the town. In The King of Boda (Bodakungen, 92 Masculinity in the Golden Age of Swedish

well-to-do farmer.”128 Only Lorens Marmstedt had objections, because Adolphson “seems too decked out and polished for his part” and because Jansson “should actually be a rough-hewn child of nature.” The same reviewer thought that the scene in which Margita Alfvén hits an insolent admirer in the face with a fish demonstrated “a lack of taste; one is dumbfounded when confronted with such vulgarity.”129 The love scenes, which were unorthodox for Swedish film, were called “violent flirtation”130 and

several different homosexual subcultures, were interspersed with illustrative lectures by Hirschfelt, who also collaborated with Oswalt in writing the screenplay. Here, Dyer provides a reading of Veidt who, like Gösta Ekman, had a favorable appearance and was on his way to becoming a star—a reading in which beauty is dualistically combined with a grim tragic nature à la Dorian Gray—a man with a secret that leads to grief and death for those around him and, eventually, for him. In the home of

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