Background

radioensbarndom-1

In January 1946, Dreyer was commissioned to modernise a pair of old silent films from 1929 and 1932 about the birth of Statsradiofonien, the Danish State Radio. Otto Schrayh had shot one of the films for the Berlingske Tidende newspaper, but the films were silent and outdated. Theodor Christensen was hired for the restoration job in 1944 but never really did anything about it, and Dreyer took over the project with his content.

At the time, the obvious thing to do would have been to furnish the film with an instructive voiceover and mood music. Instead, Dreyer got the idea of returning the film to its original form and inquired whether Nordisk Film might have an edit list lying around. They did. They even had the intertitles, which had never been added to the existing version of the film. Dreyer first wanted to bring the film back to its original starting point and then start modifying it.

He wrote a nine-page manuscript and had several meetings with Oluf Lund-Johansen, who had been the editor of two Danish radio periodicals from the late twenties. They agreed about practically everything that was worth saving from the old film and what new material to add. Nic. Lichtenberg shot the new sequences and Dreyer wrote new intertitles, asking Thomas P. Hejle, head of Statens Filmcentral, to have them printed as "old silent film titles."

A letter from Dansk Kulturfilm to Statens Filmcentral introduced the film as follows:
The film has been cut down a bit but otherwise appears in its original form. To preserve its old form, it has been furnished with silent titles and accompanying piano music.

Det Danske Filminstitut CARL TH. DREYER - THE MAN AND HIS WORK

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Det Danske Filminstitut

Danish Film Institute
Gothersgade 55, DK-1123 Copenhagen K K
Tel: +45 3374 3400
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