The President was shot from 4 May to 9 July 1918, and a final, tinted cut was ready to show to Nordisk Film’s management on 11 August.
Locations: Visby, Island of Gotland, Sweden.
Dreyer on The President:
"I personally chose Karl Emil Franzos’s novel, because it offered an opportunity to try new ways. The manuscript called for a complicated flashback technique which made the screenplay seem enormously clever and 'original.' I think I was quite proud when it was done. But I was anything but proud when I saw the final cut of the film. I found the Chinese box system of the flashback technique cumbersome and 'pretentious.' I have never used flashbacks since. […] As for the sets, I tried to have them reflect the personalities of the people who lived in them, while I also strove towards simplification. In those efforts I was – as anyone can plainly see – guided by painters like Hammershøy (sic! Hammershøi!) and Whistler, and as far as the cast was concerned I managed to push through that all old persons in the film be played by elderly actors who were the same age as their characters, and in minor roles rather a good character than a poorly masked actor giving off an unmistakably odour of beard and makeup. This seems obvious now, but in 1917/18 it meant a break with established customs and traditions." (Excerpt of letter to Erik Ulrichsen, dated 11 March 1958, in reply to questions Ulrichsen asked Dreyer in a letter of 10 March 1958, in connection with a screening of The President at the Danish Film Museum. The letters are in the Dreyer Collection, D II, A: 2504-2512).
By Lisbeth Richter Larsen | 05. April