(1889 – 1968)
Director, screenwriter, cinema manager. Born 3 February 1889. Died 20 March 1968, at age 79.
Carl Theodor Dreyer is the most important director in Danish cinema. Internationally, Dreyer ranks among the greatest artists ever to work in the medium of film. Born out of wedlock (as Karl Nilsson), he was adopted at age two by a Danish couple. His biological mother died shortly after giving him up for adoption. Many film scholars regard Dreyer's leitmotif of tragic, suffering women as a biographical element in his films.
Dreyer started his career as a journalist and wrote screenplays on the side. His first realised screenplay was "Bryggerens Datter" (Rasmus Ottesen, 1912) produced by Skandinavisk-Russisk Handelshus. From 1913-18, Dreyer worked as a screenwriter at Nordisk Film. There he directed his first film, "Præsidenten" / "The President" (1919). In the 1920s, Dreyer mainly worked abroad. In France, he directed his best-known film and masterpiece, "La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc" / "The Passion of Joan of Arc" (France, 1928).
Ten years would pass after Dreyer made his first sound film, "Vampyr" / "The Vampire" (France/Germany, 1932), before he got work again as a director, making the short film "Mødrehjælpen" / "Good Mothers" (1942). The following year saw "Vredens Dag" / "Day of Wrath" (1943), a feature whose tightly wound depiction of 17th-century witch hunts can be seen as a comment on the Nazi occupation of Denmark at the time. In 1952, Dreyer acquired the license for the Dagmar cinema in Copenhagen.
Apart from a handful of shorts, the great filmmaker only got to make two features in his remaining years. And he only got the opportunity, because the Ministry of Justice urged the Palladium film company to improve the quality of its films if it wanted to keep its cinema licence as a production company.
Dreyer dedicated his last years to research and even learned Hebrew while planning "Jesus af Nazareth," a film project that never made it into production.
Bibliography: Countless books and articles have been written about Dreyer. The following is just a small selection. Jean and Dale Drum: My Only Great Passion (2000). Raymond Carney: Speaking the Language of Desire (1989). Edvin Kau: Dreyers filmkunst (1989). Martin Drouzy: Carl Th. Dreyer født Nilsson (1982). David Bordwell: The Films of Carl-Theodor Dreyer (1981). Mark Nash: Dreyer (1977). Tom Milne: The Cinema of Carl Dreyer (1971). Ebbe Neergaard: Dreyer (1963).
Visit the Carl Th. Dreyer website for much more info: www.carlthdreyer.dk/en/
|Store danskere: Carl Th. Dreyer||2006||Appearance||TV documentary|
|Kinomagazin: Carl Th. Dreyer und Gertrud||1994||Appearance||TV film|
|Carl Th. Dreyer||1965||Appearance||TV documentary|
|Honour to Carl Th. Dreyer||1965||Appearance||Non-fiction footage|
|Something about Scandinavia||1956||Story||DK/Documentary|
|The word||1955||Direction, Script||DK/Feature|
|A Castle within a Castle||1954||Direction, Script||DK/Documentary|
|The rebuilding of Rønne and Nexø||1954||Script||DK/Documentary|
|The Storstrøm bridge||1950||Direction, Script, Editing||DK/Documentary|
|Shakespeare and Kronborg||1950||Script||DK/Documentary|
|The early years of the State Broadcasting Service||1949||Editing, Screenplay, Organizer||DK/Documentary|
|They Caught the Ferry||1948||Direction, Script||DK/Short fiction|
|The Danish Village Church||1947||Direction, Script||DK/Documentary|
|The fight against cancer||1947||Direction, Script||DK/Documentary|
|Water from the land||1946||Direction, Script||DK/Documentary|
|Två människor||1945||Direction, Script, Editing||Feature|
|Day of wrath||1943||Direction, Script||DK/Feature|
|Good Mothers||1942||Direction, Script||DK/Documentary|
|La passion de Jeanne d'Arc||1928||Direction, Script, Editing||Feature|
|Master of the house||1925||Direction, Script, Production design||DK/Feature|
|Heart's Desire||1924||Direction, Script||Feature|
|Once upon a time||1922||Direction, Script||DK/Feature|
|Love one another||1922||Direction, Script||Feature|
|Leaves from Satan's Book||1921||Direction, Script||DK/Feature|
|The fourth marriage of dame Margaret||1921||Direction, Script||Feature|
|The President||1919||Direction, Script||DK/Feature|
|The music-hall star||1918||Script||DK/Feature|
|Fange Nr. 113||1917||Script||DK/Feature|
|Den mystiske Selskabsdame||1917||Script||DK/Feature|
|Hans rigtige Kone||1917||Script||DK/Feature|
|Den hvide Djævel||1916||Script||DK/Feature|
|The tempting of Mrs. Chesney||1916||Script||DK/Feature|
|The Spider’s Prey||1916||Script||DK/Feature|
|Evelyn the beautiful||1916||Script||DK/Feature|
|En Forbryders Liv og Levned||1916||Script||DK/Feature|
|Lay Down Your Arms!||1915||Script||DK/Feature|
|The hidden message||1913||Script, Balloonist||DK/Feature|
|Elskovs Opfindsomhed||1913||Script||DK/Short fiction|
|The secret of the bureau||1913||Script||DK/Feature|
|The leap to death||1912||Script, Balloonist||DK/Feature|
|Dr. Cooks Ankomst||1909||Appearance||Non-fiction footage|
|Moscow - Royal Danish Embassy||2011-09-05||Vredens Dag|
|Locarno, Festival internazionale del film||2003-08-06||De nåede færgen|
|Moscow - Royal Danish Embassy||2003-04-05||Gertrud|
|Ghent Flanders Int. Film Festival||2000-10-10||De nåede færgen|
|Valladolid International Film Festival||1985-10-26||Gertrud|
|Goa - Int. Film Festival of India||1983-01-03||Gertrud|