The Saga of Gosta Berling

Director: Mauritz Stiller
Year Released: 1924
Rating: 1.0

Defrocked minister Gosta Berling (Lars Hanson) - known for playing tricks (involving Satan), having radical opinions and, naturally, drinking way too much - leaves the profession to become a tutor, where women inexplicably fall in love with him even though, frankly, there isn't much about him that comes across as remotely appealing. A bloated and bland soap opera, it foolishly prances around as if it's high art, and one vital, redeeming aspect to it is none other than Greta Garbo's radiant visage - some compare this (absurdly, if you ask me) to Gone With the Wind, except it lacks in memorable characters, depth and cinematic majesty of that landmark Hollywood picture (there are, admittedly, two 'big' important sequences in this: the burning of the estate and a romantic sleigh ride with Garbo ... outrunning Symbolic wolves). Hardly the high water mark of early Swedish cinema, because there was this Victor Sjöström fellow who made some fascinating silent movies, and of course there's also this Bergman fellow who would come around a few decades later and, you know, redefine the medium....