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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Like previous viewers, I stayed up very late watching this movie and recorded the movie, but someone in my family removed it! Read morePublished on January 9, 2012 by Meg
A wonderful classic that has all the elements of epic: Romance, action and classic actors.
Highly reccommended for any silent collecion.