LAILA is the crowning achievement of the Norwegian silent cinema, a heart-tugging melodrama in the genre that dominated Norwegian filmmaking in the 1920s: an adaptation of a literary work, shot mostly outdoors and celebrating the splendors of the Norwegian landscape. George Schnéevoigt, the noted Danish-German cinematographer, brings every exotic corner of on-location Scandinavia to the forefront in a decade-spanning romantic adventure, his debut work as a director. Schnéevoigt's long and illustrious career as director, writer, Actor and cinematographer includes his work as cameraman on four masterworks directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer — LEAVES OUT OF THE BOOK OF SATAN (1920), THE PARSON'S WIDOW (1920), ONCE UPON A TIME (1922) and MASTER OF THE HOUSE (1925). The star of LAILA, Mona Mårtenson, had recently been a student at Stockholm's Royal Dramatic Theatre when she, and classmate Greta Garbo, were personally selected by Mauritz Stiller, to star in his 1924 film of GÖSTA BERLINGS SAGA.
In LAILA, Mona Mårtenson portrays the title character, a young girl separated from her parents as a baby and rescued by a wealthy Sámi reindeer owner, Aslag (Peter Malberg) in the frozen tundra. Though she is returned to her family a year later, Laila grows into a young woman of two worlds, at home with both her settled and nomadic upbringings among the Sámi (the indigenous peoples of northern Scandinavia, sometimes referred to as Lapp or Laplanders.) Laila soon finds herself in a love triangle with her foster brother Mellet (Henry Gleditsch) and her cousin Anders (Harald Schwenzen), played out against the backdrop of an encroaching plague. Expertly photographed with a surprisingly modern cinematic flair, LAILA goes from snowy mountaintops to lush green valleys, featuring treacherous waterfalls, packs of rampaging wolves and reindeer-pulled sled chases.
Recently resurrected by, and proudly presented in conjunction with, the Norwegian Film Institute, LAILA boasts a restored transfer and all-new subtitles as well as a brand new piano score by renowned composer Robert Israel. LAILA has been mastered for this new digital edition in partnership with Turner Classic Movies directly from the 2006 digital restoration, carried out by Arild Jǿrgensen at the National Library of Norway, and Torulf Henriksen, at Nordisk Film Post Production, Oslo, Norway.
LAILA was produced for DVD by Jeffrey Masino with additional archive research by Brent Kvalvik at the National Library of Norway. Included in this publication is a brand new illustrated essay by film historianand University of Copenhagen professor, Casper Tybjerg; an original diary manuscript of actor Tryggve Larssen (Jampa in the film) made during the production; the complete digital reproduction of a rare photo album from a private collection covering the production of the film; and biographical information of the principal actors and technicians.
Format: DVD-NTSC / Region 0
(No Regional Code)
Director: George Schnéevoigt
Screenplay: George Schnéevoigt, adapted from the novel by Jan Andreas Frils
Cinematographer: Allan Lynge
Producer: Helge Lunde
Production Company: Lunde-Film
Cast: Mona Mårtenson, Tryggve Larssen, Harald Schwenzen, Peter Malberg, Cally Monrad, Henry Gleditsch, Finn Bernhoft, Lilly Larson-Lund, Ibe Brekke, Aslag Aslagsen Sara, Rasmus Christiansen, Alice O'Fredericks & Mattis Morotaja
• 145 minutes
• B&W, tinted
• LAILA Production Photo Album
• Actor and Technichian Biographies
• Publicity Materials
Total Running Time: 02:26:37
Language: Norwegian intertitles, English, French & Spanish subtitles
Musical Score: Robert Israel, adapted from Edvard Grieg
Booklet Text: Caspar Tybjerg
Published By: Flicker Alley
Institutional Price: $250 (plus shipping)
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