The Blizzard

“The Blizzard,” directed by Mauritz Stiller in 1923, features a man dragged through the Swedish Arctic by a reindeer.  The man, out in the wilderness to herd the reindeer towards a big payday (they are used for meat, hides, antlers, milk and transportation), encounters a blizzard that destroys his dream to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.  Saving the family’s expensive mansion motivates the hero (Einer Hanson) to go on the same dangerous trip his grandfather undertook years before.

Mauritz Stiller with Greta Garbo.

Film historians credit Stiller with bringing Greta Garbo to Hollywood in 1925, along with Einer Hanson, although Stiller lasted only a short time because he could not get along with the MGM brass.  Both Stiller and Hanson died in 1927, but there was never talk about a conspiracy.  It’s funny how MGM couldn’t get enough of Stiller’s fellow Swedish director Victor Sjöström, but quickly dismissed Stiller and his ideas.  Stiller made the wonderful “Erotikon” in 1920, which influenced directors such as Ernst Lubitsch and Billy Wilder.  Maybe that’s why he was able to get work at Paramount for a few pictures before they fired him too.  Since Stiller could do both romantic comedy and adventure stories, and he brought Garbo to Hollywood, I would have liked to have seen more from him under the studio system.  Still, I’m happy to have The Blizzard and Erotikon.

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