The Saga of Gosta Berling (1924)




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Known under a variety of titles, The Atonement of Gosta Berling is an excellent representation of the Swedish silent cinema. Long, complex, and elaborately produced, the film nonetheless never loses sight of the human elements which motivate the story. Lars Hanson stars as Berling, a defrocked priest whose rebellious attitude hides a greater sense of idealism than most of his "pious" contemporaries. Among the women in Berling's life is a supposedly married countess, played with instinctive brilliance by a young, awkward, chubby Greta Garbo. Overflowing with betrayals, revenge, and regeneration, Atonement of Gosta Berling has enough plots for ten films. American audiences generally saw a severely truncated version, running approximately half the film's original length. What was left was enough for MGM to invite director Mauritz Stiller and star Greta Garbo to Hollywood, though in typically callous big-studio fashion, Garbo was retained while Stiller was permitted to wither on the vine. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The Saga of Gosta Berling

All Critics (3)

There are cyclones amid the sprawling stolidity

Sep 25, 2009 | Full Review…

Stiller's direction is only adequate most of the time, and there are a lot of mismatched eyelines and shots that feel off-balance and uncertain.

Jun 2, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

It is the females who come off as the stronger sex here, but the applause at the end is director Mauritz Stiller's.

Sep 23, 2005 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Saga of Gosta Berling

Far too long but with some impressive set pieces. Early Garbo before Stiller and then MGM took her under their wing and molded her. She's about 15 pounds heavier than usual which obscures those signature cheekbones and her hair and make-up are awful but the spark is definitely there.

jay nixon
jay nixon

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