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October 1996, Week 4


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Blaine Allan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 21 Oct 1996 17:38:39 EDT
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On Mon, 21 Oct 1996 10:35:46 -0400 Dennis Doros said:
>What was lost was Dreyer's first version of the film. The orignal negative
>was lost in a fire shortly after the film opened in Denmark in the late 20s.
>Dreyer made other versions from the outtakes and the foreign negatives. IN
>1981, one of the two prints he made for Denmark showed up in a Danish mental
>hospital, and so the original version is now preserved and is touring the
Not to split hairs, but it was a Norwegian mental hospital.  As I recall
the story, a doctor at the hospital was particularly interested in
issues of possession and delusion, and requested the film.  He neglected
to return it, and there it stayed in a storage area in the hospital
until the early 1980s.  (The catalogue of the Toronto Film Festival,
where I saw the film in 1985, says that the print turned up in 1984.)
Dreyer had practically the entire film, on a shot for shot basis, in
alternate takes, I understand, and so was able to construct a version
that circulated for many years.
The most astonishing facet of the new/old version of the film that I
recall resulted less from any modifications of structure, imagery, or
performance, and more from the simple difference in seeing a
beautiful, pristine, 35 millimetre print on a big screen, accompanied
by a score performed by a chamber ensemble.  <Sigh.>
Blaine Allan                           [log in to unmask]
Film Studies
Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario
Canada  K7L 3N6
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