KAPTEN GROGG VID NORDPOLEN
Prod.: AB Svenska Biografteatern 35mm. L.: 220 m. D.: 11’ a 18 f/s. Bn
Allegedly inspired by American animator Winsor McCay, illustrator Victor Bergdahl made Trolldrycken (The Magic Potion) in 1915, considered to be Sweden’s first animation: a three-minute film of a man smoking a cigar and emptying a bottle of alcohol, where fantastic figures emerge as he enters different stages of delirium. The following year, Bergdahl would make the first of three animations with a circus motif, Cirkus Fjollinski, and in the same year he also made the first of his thirteen films with the character Kapten Grogg, a short-tempered sea captain prone to drinking and having exceptional adventures.
The Kapten Grogg films are among the earliest examples of an animated series centering on a recurrent character, and they became instantly popular, not only in Sweden but also abroad, most notably in Germany. Often misogynistic and sometimes blatantly racist, the Grogg films remain visually delightful and full of brilliant ideas. His most elaborate film is the 1917 När Kapten Grogg skulle porträtteras, where the live-action Bergdahl himself interacts with the illustrated character, who comes to visit the artist’s studio to have his portrait taken.