. Scen.: Harald B. Harald [Gustaf Molander]. F.: Henrik Jaenzon. Scgf.: Axel Esbensen. Int.: Victor Sjöström (Thomas Graal), Karin Molander (Bessie), Albin Lavén (il padre di Bessie), Jenny Tschernichin-Larsson (la madre di Bessie), William Larsson (Masey), Axel Nilsson (Johan). Prod.: AB Svenska Biografteatern 35mm. L.: 1087 m. D.: 53’ a 18 f/s. Bn
In summer 1916 Mauritz Stiller left cinema for the theatre (after Vingarne and Balettprimadonnan, both screened at Il Cinema Ritrovato in 2016) and returned to it a year later, with Thomas Graals bästa film.
After the success of Victor Sjöström’s Terje Vigen (A Man There Was), AB Svenska Biografteatern changed its production policy. Soon Stiller too would direct films shot in spectacular locations based on famous literary sources portraying the interaction between Man and Nature. But he also continued to make urban contemporary comedies, such as the Thomas Graal films and Erotikon (1920).
In Thomas Graals bästa film, the self-reflective traits of Vingarne are fully developed, becoming the subject of the film itself. The story centers around a scriptwriter – delightfully played by film director Victor Sjöström – struggling for an idea for his next film. The comedy delivers an exaggerated portrait of a studio mogul, a parody of a typical Swedish poverty-drama, allusions to Swedish censorship, and has intertitles addressing the spectators directly.
The female lead is played by brilliant comedienne Karin Molander, once again cast as an independent and strong-willed woman. Especially memorable are her tongue-in-cheek performances, practicing at home in front of the mirror, and her first screen tests.
Stiller directed a continuation in the following year (Thomas Graals Best Child), and scriptwriter Gustaf Molander made a sequel loosely based on the Stiller films in 1922 (Thomas Graals myndling).