Newly Added About Us News Guide Blog Join

Nordisk 🐻‍❄️ Tonefilm

Taking priest acting to the Max. 

Taking priest acting to the Max. 

The production and distribution company Nordisk Tonefilm was owned by the People’s Houses movement – regional community halls for meetings, education, dancing – and cinema (financing most of the other things going on in the houses). These houses were created and run by the Swedish labour movement. It was cinema by the people and for the people.

All things considered, it's a bit ironic that the most successful films from Nordisk Tonefilm were:

  • The ‘Little Fridolf’ films (1956-59). Light comedies with an urban touch;
  • “One Summer of Happiness” (1951). The first ‘Swedish Sin’ film, creating a wave of sexploitation films, which gave Sweden and Swedish women a reputation of being ready and willing;
  • Three early films by Ingmar Bergman – who most of the time liked to portray bourgeois people and problems.

Nordisk Tonefilm also gave the opportunity to important directors to hone their skills and make many films each in a number of different genres; most notably Arne Mattsson and Kenne Fant. We will get back to them in upcoming theme weeks.

Cultpix already has 20 films from Nordisk Tonefilm on the site and available for streaming. We just had the chance to digitize 35 more films, which will be coming up in different theme weeks. Most of these films do not have English subtitles, but we are working on fixing that too.

Kiki and cat.

Kiki and cat.

Stora Hoparegränd och himmelriket/The Inventor’s Dilemma (1949) - Film noirish drama. The poor inventor Erik lives in a house in Stockholm’s Old Town, full of drunkards, hobos, prostitutes and a midget. Erik falls in love with the clerk Lillemor. His invention is finally ready for the market, and he finds a company that might be interested. But Erik is attracted to the arrogant CEO’s wife... The film’s midget (above) is played by the famous circus clown Kiki. Atmospheric take on a Stockholm back when living in Old Town was considered a slum rather than luxury apartments.

Bröllopsdagen/The Wedding Day (1960) - Star-studded comedy, about Anders and Sylvia (Max von Sydow and Bibi Andersson) who are getting married, but Sylvia has second thoughts and runs away at the altar. They make up eventually, but at the second wedding ceremony, Anders says no. A rare light-hearted Swedish comedy, that even the critics loved: “"'The Wedding Day' is a film with both heart and brain. It is for once a comedy with intelligence,” wrote Stig Björkman in Chaplin.

Flygplan saknas/An Aeroplane is Missing (1965) - Two army pilots must fly together in spite of their strong dislike for each other. During a training mission the aircraft crashes at sea and they have to save themselves by parachute. A big rescue mission is started, but their distress signal was damaged. At home, their wives pray for the pilots’ safe return. Critics loathed it. “Drama is missing,” one wrote. Strangely the script was by Per Wahlöö and Arvid Rundberg, the former of which would form police procedural writing duo Sjöwall-Wahlöö later, but on land.

Kvinnan gör mig galen/Woman Drives Me Crazy (1948) - CEO Erik Cassander has financial problems. His only hope is a wealthy aunt. He awaits her visit. But they haven't seen each other for years. He has to fake a wife and kid to please her, but things get way more complicated than he could ever expect. Critics couldn’t quite believe that the ‘wealthy aunt’ plot device was still being used in the late 40s. But the film was also called a ‘light, elegant, half-crazy Swedish comedy’, elevated by the jazzy score by Charlie Norman.

Good Friends and Faithful Neighbours

Good Friends and Faithful Neighbours

Det var en gång/Once Upon a Time (1945)- A travelling merchant visits a family in a cottage in the winter. He tells them five strange fairy tales; of children creating a circus, dolls coming alive at midnight, a pedal car race, a pig without a curly tail, and Santa getting helped by a bear and a troll. Swings between being weird to modern eyes and borderline folk horror, plus a very, very, very slow boxcar race.

Goda vänner trogna grannar/Good Friends and Faithful Neighbours (1960) - Hugo Frejer terrorizes his family, tenants and neigbhours with his foul temper and sarcastic commentaries. One by one, they start to fight back in their own way. The theme of revenge on a sadistic Pater Familias is familiar to Cultpix regulars from films such as Morianna/I, the Body (1965) and Jokerfejs (1984). "Like a cougar in a potato field, Gunnel Lindblom stands out in this reasonably inoffensive and extremely domestic product, unthinkable in any other language,” said the review in Svenska Dagbladet, back when cougar meant something other than MILF.

Vildmarkssommar/Matty (1957) - On the coast of Norway, 15-year-old Matti sneaks off a Norwegian fishing boat from England after World War II. He is determined to find his way back to Finland, to his home and his younger sister Silkka. An interesting mix between fiction and nature documentary, possibly trying to replicate the success of Disney’s wildlife documentaries. The film had two directors, one for the bits with humans and another for all the animals. Sooo many animals.

Cultpix Radio Ep. #48 was devoted to Nordisk Tonefilm, so if you want to learn more, or just listen to Django Nudo and the Smut Peddler’s take on the films, tune in.

"Like a cougar in a potato field, Gunnel Lindblom stands out."