Midcentury Madness ’22

First show: July 09


PART 8-9 of 18 • Saturday & Sunday: MADNESS travels to Scandinavia

Not content to simply keep breaking ground with his FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT series, Midcentury Productions’ head honcho Don Malcolm is presenting 36 ultra-rare mid-century films (what else?) from around the world in 18 double features—an ongoing event unlike anything else. In this installment—rare and riveting films from Sweden and Norway…


Edgy Swedish auteur Arne Mattsson


Mannequin in Red

The prolific Arne Mattsson (1919-1995) began directing films at age 21 and created a scandal in Sweden in the early 50s with his film ONE SUMMER OF HAPPINESS due to a nude scene. Later in the decade, Mattsson embarked on a series of five thrillers featuring a husband-and-wife detective team, each with a color listed in its title. MANNEQUIN IN RED / MANNEKÄNG I RÖTT (1958) is the second of these, and the first shot in color. Many critics consider it a forerunner of the Italian giallo with its many perverse characters. A infamous model is left dead in the store window of a famous fashion house; it turns out she’s been blackmailing a bewildering quantity of people, and the Hillmans (Kasja and John) have their hands full keeping track of the suspects.

The Doll

THE DOLL / VAXDOCKAN (1962) is something else again—a macabre tale clearly inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and E.T.A. Hoffman. A lonely night watchman (the celebrated Swedish actor Per Oscarsson) brings home a doll from the department store he guards, only to discover that she comes to life! Mattsson imbues this seemingly far-fetched tale with arresting psychological realism and an uncanny progression of events, all making for something utterly unique. Featuring a riveting performance by Gio Petré as “the doll”…


Two films voted among the “five best” in Norwegian cinema


Lake of the Dead

A remote cabin in the woods with a sinister legend attached to is the scene of the action in this intriguing noir-horror hybrid from director Kare Bergstrom, who began his career as a cinematographer. (He shot the Norwegian noir DEATH IS A CARESS, which played some years ago at Noir City.) A group of six friends find themselves embroiled in a complex, bewildering murder mystery set at a forboding lake that seems to draw people to its shores to commit suicide. Evocatively shot by top Norwegian cinematographer Ragnar Sorensen, LAKE OF THE DEAD / DE DØDES TJERN (1958) is compact and compelling.

Nine Lives

NINE LIVES / NI LIV (1957) is directed by Arne Skouen, the most acclaimed Norwegian director during the 1950s, whose films regularly screened in competition at Cannes. NINE LIVES is a galvanizing tale (based on a true story) of a Norwegian saboteur attempting to reach safety in Sweden during WWII after the Nazis had killed all of his fellow commandos. It’s an arduous, virtually impossible journey through the harshest of all possible terrain, during winter in Norway. It’s also a stirring tale of human compassion, as we watch many ordinary people put themselves at risk in order to help the saboteur in his attempt to escape. NINE LIVES was voted as the “Best Norwegian film” in a poll taken in 2004.

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