Carl Theodor Dreyer and Ordet
How "The Passion of Joan of Arc" filmmaker anticipated Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" by 50 years.
Many lovers of cinema would place Carl Theodor Dreyer's The Life of Jesus among the top unmade films they most wish they could see. So Jan Wahl's Carl Theodor Dreyer and Ordet: My Summer With the Danish Filmmaker -- with its fascinating descriptions of the director's intentions for his great dream project -- comes as one of the most welcome film books of the year. Above all, this memoir provides the special service of greatly humanizing one of the most imposing and singular of the old masters, a prolific figure during the silent era who made, among others, the startling The President in 1919 and the imperishable The Passion of Joan of Arc in 1928. Wahl -- who would go on to write children's books -- was then a 21-year-old American student, invited after some correspondence to Denmark to observe production, in 1954, of the rural religious drama Ordet (which would win a Golden Globe and Venice's Golden Lion).
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