A Dangerous Wooing (Ett farlig frieri) was Rune Carlsten’s directorial debut and he went on to make some twenty films up until the 1940’s. If you didn’t know better you might almost assume that this romantic comedy drama was the work of his more renowned Swedish contemporary, Victor Sjöström, with extensive shots of the Scandinavian countryside (actually the region around the Hardanger Fjord in Norway) but Carlsten shows a lighter touch.
The exterior camerawork is exemplary from Raoul Reynolds and Carl Gustaf Florin, showing the sweep of endless mountains and hills behind the Husaby farm at the centre of this very human romantic comedy… The day-to-day struggles of existing on this land is set aside as the characters set about each other but in the end the physical challenges of their location ,must be over come in order for the day to be won.
|Right rural ain't it?|
|Gull Cronvall and Lars Hanson|
|The old wolf Husaby!|
Thormund (Hjalmar Peters), the wealthiest farmer in the area approaches with his only son, Ola (Kurt Welin) who has all of the financial backing and none of the front being a podgy lad who is easily despatched and dunked in milk by Uno and his accomplice.
Tore is the son of a humble small-holder and even his mother (Hilda Castegren) tells him he’s too poor to score with the Wolf’s foxy daughter (sorry…). But, he’s a man crazy in love and determined to bridge the income gap.
Thormund and his son arrive to propose to Husaby – and his daughter – and the Wolf declares that it’s her decision. She politely declines the course of her heart having already been set and then Tore declares his intentions only to be laughed out of the house by the older men and their sons: he is not worthy…
|The counter-proposal is laughed off|
Tore is ambushed by the sons and having easily beaten them both off is caught unawares by their father’s joining the fray. The three Husabys give him a beating and the Wold tells him that unless he makes it to see Aslaug the next Saturday, their engagement will be called off and she will have to marry Ola Thormundson…
|Tore evades the ambush|
|Hang on...I've got an idea...|
Lars is excellent as you’d expect and proves as adept at comedy as drama faced with the impressively-mighty Theodor Blick who you just wouldn’t want to mess with unless, that is, you were inescapably, bravely, in love with his daughter.
The version I watched was a copy of the 2010 restoration from the Svenska Filminstitutet which comes with an impressive, jazz-tinged score from Matti Bye. It's available on DVD from Loving the Classics purveyors of decent quality public domain cinema.
|Uno Henning gets the cold shoulder|