Film Review: The Outlaw and His Wife (1918)

Also known as: Berg-Ejvind och hans hustru (original Swedish title), You and I (US alternate title)
Release Date: January 1st, 1918 (Sweden)
Directed by: Victor Sjöström
Written by: Victor Sjöström, Sam Ask, Jóhann Sigurjónsson
Cast: Victor Sjöström, Edith Erastoff

Svenska Biografteatern AB, 136 Minutes (original), 110 Minutes (2013 restored version)

Review:

“Love makes one man good, another evil…” – Title Card

This is the oldest film available on FilmStruck’s streaming service, so I wanted to check it out.

This is a biopic produced in Sweden about the Icelandic outlaw Fjalla-Eyvindur, also known as Eyvindur of the Mountains or Eyvind of the Hills. In the film, we meet Kari and his wife to be, Halla. Some people suspect he is the outlaw Eyvind. A bailiff, jealous of Halla’s attraction to Kari, sets his sights on the criminal. Things escalate and Eyvind and Halla abandon their farm and retreat to the cold highlands. They have a child and are eventually accompanied by their friend, Arnes. Arnes, however, confesses his love to Halla but she doesn’t feel the same way, as she still loves Eyvind. Men arrive to finally confront Eyvind but fearing capture, Halla throws her baby off of a cliff. The outlaw and his wife escape into the harsh winter weather but find themselves in a cabin with no food. Halla eventually freezes to death in the snow and when Eyvind finds her, he holds her until he dies frozen by her side.

It’s a pretty depressing story but it does display the pure love that these two have for one another. Ultimately, despite his crooked past, Eyvind just wants to live in peace with his family.

For the time it was released, The Outlaw and His Wife was a massive epic. It featured nature and the wilderness in a way that had never been captured on film. The film truly is a landmark in cinematic history and it did wow audiences with its visuals. It is hard to deny its greatness within the context of what it is, when it was made and how it changed things in the evolution of motion pictures.

It’s not a super exciting movie, though. At least not by modern standards and I am a guy that does like old silent pictures. It’s not boring, by any means, but it is a pretty drawn out film with some slow moments.

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