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Laila

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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(May 16, 2011)
"Please retry"
A Restored Scandinavian Epic by George S
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Editorial Reviews

Laila, 1929's epically scaled Norwegian feature comes from Danish-German director and noted cinematographer George Schneevoigt, who brings every exotic corner of on-location Scandinavia to the forefront in a decades-spanning romantic adventure. Mona Mårtenson is Laila, a young girl separated from her parents as a baby and raised by a wealthy reindeer owner Aslag (Peter Malberg) in the frozen tundra. Though she is returned a year later, Laila grows into a young woman of two worlds, at home with both her settled and nomadic upbringings. Laila soon finds herself in a love triangle with her foster brother Mellet (Henry Gleditsch) and her cousin Anders (Harald Schwenzen), played out against the backdrop of an encroaching plague. Expertly photographed with a shockingly modern cinematic flair, Laila goes from snowy mountain-tops to lush green valleys, featuring treacherous waterfalls, packs of rampaging wolves and reindeer-pulled sled chases. Recently resurrected by and proudly presented in conjunction with the Norwegian Film Institute, Laila boasts a restored transfer and all-new subtitles as well as a brand new piano score by renowned composer Robert Israel. LAILA has been mastered in this new digital edition in partnership with the National Library of Norway. Included in this publication is a brand new illustrated essay by film historian and University of Copenhagen professor, Casper Tybjerg; an original diary manuscript of actor Tryggve Larssen (Jåmpa in the film) made during the production; the complete digital reproduction of a rare photo album from a private collection covering the production of the film; and biographical information of the principal actors and technicians.

Special Features

Laila, The Crowning Achievement of Norwegian Silent Cinema: A new illustrated essay by historian Casper Tybjerg; an original diary of actor Tryggve Larssen written during production; a complete rare photo album from a private collection covering the film's production; biographical information of the principal actors and technicians.

Product Details

  • Actors: Mona Martenson, Henry Gleditsch, Harald Schwenzen, Peter Malberg, Tryggve Larssen
  • Directors: George Schneevoigt
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    G
    General Audience
  • Studio: Flicker Alley LLC
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2011
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004NAZ7QK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,552 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

I watched this movie on Turner Classic Channel early this morning. It started at 12:30am and didn't end till 3am. At about 2am I was going to pack it in and tape the rest of it, but it was so interesting I stuck with it till the end. What a fantastic story and acting. It was hard to believe I was watching a movie made in 1929. I'm not going to stretch this review out . . . I loved it and it may have been one of the longest movies I've ever stayed awake for! I highly recommend it.
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I see that the two previous reviewers watched Laila on TCM, as I did. I am on Pacific time, so I was in bed a little after midnight, our time! I am a fan of the old silent ethno-movies, beginning with Edward Curtis's "In the land of the war canoes" (1914) and Robert Flahrety's "Nanook of the North" and "Taboo," and so on. Laila ranks right with the very best of them, with stunning scenes of the great reindeer herds, wolf packs, and the nomadic camps of the Laplanders -- all shot on location in northern Norway. It is a rich and complex story of a Norwegian girl rescued from the snow and raised by Laplanders, betrothed to marry her foster brother -- whom she does not care for in any romantic sense. The dilemma involves interracial marriage, resolved in an interesting twist at the end.

The cinematography, by the director George Schneevoigt (1893-1949), is as good as it gets. It is hard to believe that you are watching a 1929 silent film. But what blew me totally away was the performance of Mona Martenson (1902-1949). I had never seen nor heard of her before, and I watch the TCM Silent Classics almost every Sunday night. She is the best I have ever seen. I Googled her name and found that she was a well known Swedish actress, a classmate with Greta Garbo in film school in Stockholm. She was with Garbo in Gosta Berlings Saga (1924), after which Garbo went on to world fame. I would say that Mona Martenson's performance in Laila is better than anything I ever saw Garbo do (and I am a Garbo fan). Do not miss this one.

Lionel Youst
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This is an excellent silent movie made some 80 yrs ago. It's hard to believe it's so old as it was done so well. The filming, actors and story line are very engaging and easy to follow. It is in blk/wht and has English overlapping Norwegian subtitles. It has a bonus option that contains film stills and bios of the producers and main actors, all very interesting tidbits. Of note the birth and death dates of those involved are listed in the credits -you can be sure that wouldn't happen today!

I've never really warmed up to the silent movie genre but this one is on a completely different level. It's not the typical overly dramatic, slapstick and theatrical type of movies I had seen before. It's very natural looking in both the settings in the frozen tundra and fjords and the actors themselves. As another reviewer mentioned this group of actors all had very expressive faces making the story easy to follow. They were brilliant and many went on to have successful careers in silent movies in Scandinavia. I especially liked the eye expressions conveyed by the two Sami men.

What impressed me most was the simplicity and innocence of that time. Movie making was in its infancy and I'm surprised that Norway didn't emerge as a major player in the industry as did Hollywood based on the quality of this film. I'd imagine many a film student has studied this film for it's creative and lifelike aspects and ease of story telling. The plot itself has some sad moments and also some heartwarming elements. The sweet fatherly affection the two Sami men had for the little girl was uplifting.
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Verified Purchase
Like other reviewers, I saw Laila, accidentally, while staying up late one night. TMC broadcasted it around midnight - and I was riveted and amazed until it ended around 3 am.

This movie is over EIGHT decades old - and it is a statement to its greatness that its intricate story, acting, cinematography, costumes, and incredible scenery have withstood the test of time. As an American, it was jarring and enthralling to see a part of the world and two cultures most of us have never thought about.

The images are in stunningly-crisp black and white. The acting is natural and believable - so unlike Hollywood's silent films with their overly-made up, cartoonish characters, and exaggerated acting. With Laila, I felt like I was watching the story unfold while I secretly watched behind a fir tree - albeit freezing - but utterly engrossed. One has to wonder how much this film influenced later directors, screen writers, and cinematographers.

This film should be in AFI's top 10, it is that phenomenal.
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