Background

storstroemsbroen-13

Dreyer wrote in the script for The Storstrøm Bridge:
The film is conceived to be shot from a purely aesthetic point of view. It should be a film about the dynamics of lines and planes, a film that shows the bridge’s grandeur and simplicity and the beauty that emerges when steel and concrete are distributed in the right way. The film should show that technique and art are not mutually alien concepts.

Viewed against this "declaration of intent," the film is clearly marked by a consistent approach to geometric forms. In an aerial view, the bridge forms a perfect diagonal for the duration of the shot. The cut is made exactly when motorists come into the picture frame, and the film closes with an elegant shot of the bridge’s shadow moving down the mast of a ship sailing under it. Though there is more form than content in this film, at the very least it shows a consistent approach and proves that, while Dreyer may not have been pouring his life’s blood into the film, he did forget his professionalism.

The manuscript for the film was begun in autumn 1947, but actual shooting did not take place until July 1948. According to the diary of the director of photography, Preben Frank, shooting took 45 days in all, against the scheduled 8-10 days. The film was not edited until after April 1949, that is, after Preben Frank’s death on 21 February 1949. The laboratory reported that the visuals were completed in May 1949. Erik Tuxen was then put in charge of the music post-production, though a final cut was not ready until late spring 1950. Working with Henning Ørnbak, Tuxen recut a few scenes to match the music. According to their information, they had obtained Dreyer’s approval to do so. The film premiered on 22 March 1950.

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

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