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23 October 2013

Synnöve Solbakken (1919)

Palle Brunius (1909-1976) and Solveig Hedengran (1910-1956) play in the Swedish silent melodrama Synnöve Solbakken (1919) the same characters as the stars of the film, Karin Molander and Lars Hanson, but then in their childhood.

Synnöve solbakken (1919)
Swedish postcard by Axel Eliassons Kontsforlag, Stockholm. Photo: Skandia Film. Still with Palle Brunius and Solveig Hedengran in Synnöve Solbakken (1919).

Love Vows


Synnöve Solbakken (John W. Brunius, 1919) was based on the popular peasant story by Norwegian writer Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, who in 1903 became the Nobel laureate in Literature. Synnøve Solbakken was his debut novel, first published in 1857.

Synnöve (Solveig Hedengran) lives with her parents at the farm Solbakken on a sunny hill. Thorbjörn (Palle Brunius), who lives at Granliden in the shadow of a big mountain, often looks wistfully up to Solbakken.

As teenagers they meet and fall in love. Another boy, Knud Nordhaug (Gösta Cederlund), is also yearning for Synnöve. Together with some companions he bullies Thorbjörn, who knocks them down. When Knud meets Synnöve's father, he gets him to believe that it is Thorbjörn who is the bully. Synnöve's parents forbid her to meet Thorbjörn henceforth.

Some years later Knud proposes to Synnöve, but is turned down. At Midsummer Eve, Thorbjörn (Lars Hanson) and Synnöve (Karin Molander) meet secretly. They renew their love-vows, and Thorbjörn promises to develop a better reputation in the village...

Karin Molander, Lars Hanson in Synnöve solbakken
Swedish postcard by Axel Eliassons Konstförlag, Stockholm, no. 127. Photo: Skandiafilm. Still for Synnöve Solbakken (1919) with Karin Molander and Lars Hanson. Sent by mail in Norway in 1920.

A Handful of Child Roles


Paul Gomer 'Palle' Brunius (1909-1976) was the son of the director John W. Brunius and actress-director Pauline Brunius. He would only play child roles in films by his parents.

Solveig Hedengran (1910-1956) instead acted in some 28 films, mostly Swedish sound films and often supporting parts. Synnöve Solbakken (1919) was her first film.

The film, shot in Gudbrandsdal in Norway, was a huge success in theatres throughout Scandinavia and became a thematic guide for Norwegian film production in the 1920s.

Synnöve Solbakken would be remade twice. In 1934, Tancred Ibsen directed an early sound version with Karin Ekelund as Synnöve and legendary director Victor Sjöström in a supporting part.

The third version of Synnöve Solbakken was released in 1954 by Gunnar Hellström with Synnøve Strigen in the title role.


Scene from Synnöve Solbakken (1919). Source: Norsk Filminstitutt.

Sources: Filmarkivet.no (Norwegian), Wikipedia and IMDb.

1 comment:

Scott Lord said...

Thank you, I'll be studying the film.

Scott Lord