Two People (1945)

I continue to be amazed at the things you can find on Youtube, and this was certainly one of the more amazing: Carl Dreyer’s not really lost as such but nonetheless almost completely forgotten 1945 Swedish film Two People. I’ve always said it’s a myth that everything is available on the Internet, but nonetheless there’s far more out there than you’d think was possible, and I’d never have expected to find this (which I did fairly randomly, never actually went looking for it). Apparently Dreyer had always wanted to make a film with just two actors, and after fleeing Nazi-owned Denmark for neutral Sweden, Svensk Filmindustri gave him the chance to do so… but, already unhappy at the studio imposing actors he didn’t want on him, he repudiated the thing after they made further changes he hated (particularly the music). However, even if Dreyer had let it stay in his canon, I doubt it’d be much better remembered than it is anyway, largely because it’s not really that good… It’s a play adaptation, centring on a medical researcher and his wife (the titular two people), and the former is being accused of plagiarising the work of a rival (the third person who looms over the other two). When the latter shoots himself unexpectedly, the situation is only further complicated, especially when the suicide is judged to have actually been murder. The Youtube video I watched is clearly of bootleg provenance, but visual beauty isn’t the point here anyway, it’s a pretty flat filming; and though Dreyer may have hated the score with some justification, all it does is to underline the melodrama that was already in the material anyway, it wouldn’t have been any less melodramatic without it. Overlong at just 77 minutes, Two People is, basically, just a bore that no one would likely care about if Dreyer weren’t the director; the handful of people who might be interested should probably see his bigger films first. If you really want to, though…

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