Lost Swedish silent film rediscovered in France
Judaspengar/The Price of Betrayal (images from the Swedish Film Institute’s Film Archive)
The Film Heritage Direction of the CNC in Bois d’Arcy has rediscovered a print of the long lost Judaspengar/The Price of Betrayal, directed by Victor Sjöström in 1915.
The sensational find was announced in October last year, and the element which was identified is a nitrate Swiss distribution print from the film's release, with French and German intertitles. The unearthed print is almost complete and is 755 meters, compared to the film's original length of 799 meters.
The film was produced by AB Svenska Biografteatern and was shot in the summer of 1915, and premiered in November the same year at Paladsteatret in Copenhagen. Egil Eide and John Ekman play the main characters in this drama where poverty and hardship leads an unemployed man to give up his friend, wrongly accused of murder.
The director, Victor Sjöström is together with Mauritz Stiller the big name within Swedish silent film era. Sjöström was active in the theater as director and actor when he was brought into the film industry in 1912 by Charles Magnusson, director of the studio Svenska Biografteatern. During his first five years, Sjöström directed no less than 30 films, of which the most famous is the masterpiece Ingeborg Holm (1913.
About Judaspengar, the daily paper Svenska Dagbladet wrote in their review "Standing on the top of what film drama can offer, and with Victor Sjöström's artistic directing, this masterpiece comes very close."
— This is a fantastic discovery. With this film we get yet another important piece of the puzzle in Sjöström’s career that helps to understand the development of the silent film in Sweden. Judaspengar / The Price of Betrayal is not only an extremely powerful drama about poverty and betrayal, but also show Sjöström’s outstanding qualities as director in terms of image compositions and character direction. We are very pleased to be able to collaborate with the archive in Bois d’Arcy, says Jon Wengström, Curator of the Archival film Collections of the Swedish Film Institute.
*) Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée/ National Centre for Cinema and the Moving Image
CNC and the Swedish Film Institute will collaborate on the restoration of the film in 2018, when viewing copies also will be made. With this discovery, 16 of Sjöström’s 42 Swedish silent films are preserved.
For more information and press related matters, please contact the undersigned.
Stockholm, February 20th.