Shoot

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Scheduled for 35 days (cf. the signed contract), the shoot took place at the Kungsholm studios in Stockholm from 5 July to 23 August 1944. Dreyer was paid 5,000 Swedish kronor for his work on the screenplay and 10,000 kronor for directing.

Problems quickly arose between Dreyer and the production company, Svensk Filmindustri. Dreyer had cast two young, relatively unknown actors in the leads, Anders Ek and Gunn Wållgren. Under various pretexts they were overruled by the company’s chief executive Carl Anders Dymling and artistic director Victor Sjöström, who insisted on two better known actors, Georg Rydeberg and Wanda Rothgardt. The latter was already under contract with SF, and since there were no other roles for her, she could be used in Dreyer’s film. In a previously unpublished letter to Ebbe Neergaard included in Martin Drouzy’s book on Dreyer (Carl Th. Dreyer født Nilsson, 1982), Dreyer writes, "Instead of two quite young people, inexperienced in marriage, they gave me two people who, it must be assumed, have been married for a number of years and settled into a steadily evolving marriage and therefore would have reacted very differently to the emerging conflict than two young, easily aroused people would have done." Protest was all Dreyer could do – he was bound by his contract and had to make the film with the actors he got.

To obtain the special, soft look Dreyer had in mind, he and the film’s promising young director of photography, Gunnar Fischer, did a number of technical tests. They got the effect they were after by pulling a ladies’ silk stocking over the lens.

Another incident that further damaged Dreyer’s relationship with SFI’s management occurred when Dymling and Sjöström before the film’s premiere put a scene back in that Dreyer – with their approval – had left on the cutting-room floor. The scene is the so-called shadow scene, where the young woman definitively leaves her lover.

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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