Greta Garbo's breakthrough film in new version
Gösta Berling's Saga, directed by the silent movie icon Mauritz Stiller, is based on Selma Lagerlöf's novel with the same name and became Greta Garbo's breakthrough, paving the way for her outstanding career in Hollywood.
This version is 16 minutes longer than the previous restoration performed in the mid 70's. The film has also regained its original image format, the original color tint* and recreated intertitles, as it appeared at the original 1924 premiere.
The main source material has been a master copy from the 50's, found in the Swedish Film Institute's archives. The Film Institute also borrowed coloured nitrate copies from Cinemateca Portuguesa in Lisbon and Cinémathèque française in Paris, as well as a longer colour-toned nitrate fragment from Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin and two black and white acetate copies from Gosfilmofond in Moscow, from which images and scenes previously missing have been reproduced.
The analogue restoration was done at the Film Institute's photochemical laboratory in Rotebro, where a new negative from the various starting materials was produced, together with new 35mm format copies. Later this year, the restored version will be digitized, to be made available in digital cinema format.
"The restoration has been a major challenge. Apart from the film material, I have used scripts, text lists, recording reports and other documentation that is preserved at the Film Institute's library." says Jörgen Viman, who is responsible for the restoration at the Film archive.
The newly restored version premiered on 8 th of February at Filmhuset this year and was accompanied by Matti Bye's ensemble with Lotta Johansson on the violin, Helena Espvall on cello and live electronics, Laura "Lau Nau" Naukkarinen on voice and synth, Kristian Holmgren on bass and Matti Bye on the piano and live electronics.
(*Color tinting means that the film strips are dipped in different color baths.)
Published 14 February 2018