Its odd to think that the reason I watched Pelle the Conqueror is solely because I became a fan of Max Von Sydow's work after seeing Flash Gordon.
Pelle the Conqueror is a powerful story, a touching tale about discrimination and a father and son faced with it in Bornholm at the end of the 19th century. It's a powerful piece which is historically educating and cleverly dramatised thanks to a strong script and powerful cast.
The production design gives off a very convincing feel in Pelle the Conqueror because it feels culturally enriching to witness the real state of civilisation that late 19th century Bornholm is really about, and it fails to fall into any hollywood clichés because it's a film straight out of Denmark, and is clearly one of the finest films Denmark has to offer. Director Bille August is the man to make sure of that, and he makes sure of it damn well. Pelle the Conqueror's success in terms of story structure, development and direction can all be largely attributed to him, as well as his clever script which is an insightful adaptation of the Martin Andersen Nexo text and an insightful film in general. It's well constructed, well shot, and well toned even if some of the story elements are inconsistent in maintaining interest or a consistent pace.
The technical highlight of Pelle the Conqueror is its Academy Award Worthy soundtrack which is incredibly emotionally powerful, mood setting and sets the scale up for viewers to understand before they watch Pelle the Conqueror.
Max Von Sydow's incredible performance ties everything together because he shows off the talent that a Swedish actor has through his mix of powerfully emotional line delivery and facial gestures which make it easy for viewers to tone into his character's soul as the story progresses. He is at some of his finest in Pelle the Conqueror.
Pelle Hvenegaard was also great as the titular Pelle and coincidentally named after the original character, and that just adds to the image of spirit that he importantly maintains as the story progresses and develops, and honestly Pelle Hvenegaard just resists whatever constraints may have existed and comes out shining.
So Pelle the Conqueror is a slow paced tale, but its emotionally gripping, well made and a fine example of Danish cinema.