The Outlaw and His Wife (1917) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Outlaw and His Wife (1917)

The Outlaw and His Wife (1917)

The Outlaw and His Wife




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Outlaw and His Wife Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Adapted from a play by Johann Sigurjonson, director Victor Sjöström's Berg-Ejvind och Hans Hhustru is considered one of the first major films of Swedish cinema. The 1918 silent drama stars Victor Sjöström as Berg-Eyvind, a drifter who begins working on the farm of a widow named Halla (Edith Erastoff). The couple falls in love only to have it revealed that Berg-Eyvind is a thief on the run after stealing a ship. Together, the lovers escape into the mountains of Iceland where many criminals before them have sought refuge. Released in the United States under the title You and I, Berg-Ejvind och Hans Hhustru was restored in 1966. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Sam Ask, Jóhann Sigurjónsson, Victor Sjöström
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 28, 1990

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Critic Reviews for The Outlaw and His Wife

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 10, 2004
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Enjoyable today as a curio.

Full Review… | September 14, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

... [Victor] Sjostrom creates images both beautiful and elemental.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
Turner Classic Movies Online

A tale of redemption played out against the vast expenses of nature.

Full Review… | July 23, 2008
Slant Magazine

In this film, it is the rigors of mountain life -blizzards, cliffs, and little to eat - that provide the backdrop to the physical and spiritual trials of the main characters.

Full Review… | February 24, 2004
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Audience Reviews for The Outlaw and His Wife

Enjoyable as a historical artifact, it does not hold up the way the best work of Keaton, Chaplin, Dreyer, Lang, or Murnau does.

It's a messy melodrama and the characterization is sloppy. The storytelling especially falls apart in the penultimate chapter, with events that either make no sense or strain credibility. I suspect some of these problems might be rectified in the longer version... on the other hand, they could also be exacerbated. However, there is a skillfulness that hints at later, greater works by Sjostrom. The use of natural landscapes and punishing weather is handled almost as artfully as in The Wind.


Kino's pair of Sjostrom DVDs (containing 3 features and an hour long documentary) is a blessing for anyone who enjoyed Bergman's "To Joy" or "Wild Strawberries". Sjostrom has long been relegated to footnote status. He's always cited as a major influence on Scandinavian cinema and along with Mauritz Stiller, labeled the father of the Swedish cinema. Now a small portion of his work is Netflixable, so he can be rediscovered.

Pre-1920s films are always difficult propositions. More often then not, they're what a friend terms "homework films" or things you watch because you're interested in film, not because you expect to enjoy them. "The Outlaw and his Wife" does fall into this category, but it's stronger than I expected, so it gets a high rating. Most notable is the excellent outdoor photography and the relatively modern editing. So many dramas from this era are impossible to focus on because there's very little going on. One idea is presented at a time- and the ideas are probably cliche now-- if they weren't then. Sostrom draws heavily from Scandinavian literature, but there's beauty and passion here that's lacking in most other films from the era.

The accompanying documentary is certainly worth a look if you're interested in the development of Swedish film. For me, it was more essential than the feature film itself, because in an hour, it provided a reasonable appreciation of the director's career. It employs a large number of excerpts from his Swedish films (the Hollywood ones are relegated to stills- presumably for rights reasons). As expected, the oft cited "Phantom Carriage" looks exceptional. You see where good old Ingmar got some of his earliest tricks. Later work looks worth watching as well. They have some of the best lighting I've seen in silent film. Hopefully Kino will continue releasing these. Maybe we'll even be lucky enough to see an Eclipse box!

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