BLOM, August






Nationality: Danish. Born: 26 December 1869. Family: Married
1) Agnete von Prangen, 1908; 2) Johanne Fritz-Petersen. Career: Actor at Folketeatret, Copenhagen, from 1893; actor at Nordisk Films Kompagni, 1908; director for Nordisk Films Kompagni, 1910–24; manager of Copenhagen cinema, 1934–47. Died: 10 January 1947.

Films as Director:

1910

Livets Storme ( Storms of Life ); Robinson Crusoe ; Den hvide Slavehandel I ( The White Slave ); Spinonen fra Tokio ( The Red Light ); Den skaebnesvangre Opfindelse ( Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ); Jagten paa Gentlemanrøveren ; Singaree ; Hamlet ; Spøgelset i Gravkaelderen ( The Ghost of the Variety ); Den dø des Halsbaand ( The Necklace of the Dead )

1911

Den hvide Slavehandel II ( In the Hands of Impostors ); Den farlige Alder ( The Price of Beauty ); Ved Faengslets Port ( Temptations of a Great City ); Vildledt Elskov ( The Bank Book ); Potifars Hustru ( The Victim of a Character ); Politimesteren ( Convicts No. 10 and No. 13 ); Den blaa Natviol ( The Daughter of the Fortune Teller ); Damernes Blad ( The Ladies' Journal ); Balletdanserinden ( The Ballet Dancer ); Jernbanens Datter ( The Daughter of the Railway ); Den naadige Frøken ( Lady Mary's Love ); En Lektion ( Aviatikeren og Journalistens Hustru ; The Aviator and the Journalist's Wife ); Ekspeditricen ( Ungdom og Letsind ; In the Prime of Life ); Desdemona ; En Opfinders Skaebne ( The Aeroplane Inventor ); Fader og Søn ( Onkel og Nevø ; A Poisonous Love ); Dødsdrømmen ( A Dream of Death ); Min første Monocle ( Herr Storms første Monocle ; His First Monocle ); Fru Potifar ( Den skaebnesvangre Løgn ; A Fatal Lie ); Kaerlighedens Styrke ( The Power of Love ); Mormonens Offer ( The Victims of the Mormon ); Haevnet ( Det bødes der for ; Vengeance ); Det mørke Punkt ( Mamie Rose ; Annie Bell ); Eventyr paa Fodrejsen ( Den udbrudte Slave ; The Two Convicts ); Ungdommens Ret ( The Right of Youth ); Tropisk Kaerlighed ( Love in the Tropics ); Vampyrdanserinden ( The Vampire Dancer ); Det gamle Købmandshus ( Midsommer ; Midsummer-Time ); Dødens Brud Gadeoriginalen ( A Bride of Death )

1912

Brillantstjernen ( For Her Sister's Sake ); Guvernørens Datter (The Governor's Daughter ); Kaerlighed gør blind ( Love Is Blind ); Dyrekøbt Venskab ( Dearly Purchased Friendship ); Den sorte Kansler ( The Black Chancellor ); Hjertets Guld ( Et Hjerte af Guld ; Faithful unto Death ); Direktørens Datter ( Caught in His Own Trap ); Det første Honorar ( Hans første Honorar ; His First Patient ); Elskovs Magt (Gøgleren ; Man's Great Adversary ); Historien om en Moder (En Moders Kaerlighed ; The Life of a Mother ); De tre Kammerater ( The Three Comrades ); Operabranden ( Bedstemoders Vuggevise ) The Song Which Grandmother Sang ; Den første Kaerlighed ( Her First Love Affair ); Hjerternes Kamp ( A High Stake ); Hans vanskeligste Rolle ( His Most Difficult Part ); Den tredie Magt ( The Secret Treaty ); Fodselsdagsgaven ( Gaven ; The Birthday Gift ); En Hofintrige ( A Court Intrigue ); Den sande Kaerlighed ( Flugten gennem Skyerne ; The Fugitives ); Hvem var Forbryderen? ( Samvittighedsnag ; At the Eleventh Hour ); Alt paa ét Kort ( Guldmønten ; Gold from the Gutter )

1913

Pressens Magt ( Et Bankrun ; A Harvest of Tears ); Troløs ( Gøglerblod, Artists ); Højt Spil ( Et forfejlet Spring ; A Dash for Liberty ); Naar Fruen gaar paa Eventyr ( Pompadourtasken ; The Lost Bag ); Bristet Lykke ( A Paradise Lost ); Fem Kopier ( Five Copies ); Atlantis ; En farlig Forbryder ( Knivstikkeren ; A Modern Jack the Ripper ); Af Elskovs Naade ( Acquitted ); Elskovsleg ( Love's Devotee ); Vasens Hemmelighed ( Den kinesiske Vase ; The Chinese Vase )

1914

Sønnen ( Her Son ); Den store Middag ( The Guestless Dinner Party ); Tugthusfange No. 97 ( En Gaest fra en anden Verden ; The Outcast's Return ); Faedrenes Synd ( Nemesis ); Aegteskab og Pigesjov ( Mr. King paa Eventyr ; A Surprise Packet ); Aeventyrersken ( Exiled ); En ensom Kvinde ( Hvem er han? ; The Doctor's Legacy ); Revolutionsbryllup ( A Revolution Marriage ); Et Laereaar ( The Reformation ); Den lille Chauffør ( The Little Chauffeur ); Den største Kaerlighed ( En Moders Kaerlighed ; "Escaped the Law, But . . . " ); Pro Patria ; Kaerligheds-Vaeddemaalet ( The Wager )

1915

Du skal elske din Naeste ( For de Andre ; The Samaritan ); Giftpilen ( The Poisonous Arrow ); Hjertestorme ; Kaerligheds Laengsel ( Den Pukkelryggede ; The Cripple Girl ); Lotteriseddel No. 22152 ( Den blinde Skaebne ; Blind Fate ); Rovedderkoppen ( Den røde Enke ); Syndens Datter ( Den, der sejrer ; Nobody's Daughter ); Syndig Kaerlighed ( Eremitten ; The Hermit ); Truet Lykke ( Et Skud i Mørket ; The Evil Genius ); Verdens Undergang ( Flammesvaerdet ; The Flaming Sword ); For sit Lands Aere ( Hendes Aere ; For His Country's Honor )

1916

Den mystiske Selskabsdame ( The Mysterious Companion ); Gillekop

1918

Grevindens Aere ( Kniplinger ; Lace ); Maharadjaens Yndlingshustru II ( The Favorite Wife of the Maharaja II ; A Daughter of Brahma ); Via Crucis

1919

Prometheus I-II ( Bonds of Hate )

1920

Hans gode Genius ( Mod Stjernerne ; His Guardian Angel ); Praesten i Vejlby ( The Vicar of Vejlby ; The Land of Fate )

1924

Det store Hjerte ( Lights from Circus Life ; Side Lights of the Sawdust Ring ); Den store Magt

1925

Hendes Naade ; Dragonen



Other Films:

1909

Droske 519 ( Cab No. 519 ) (role); En Kvinde af Folket ( A Woman of the People ) (role): Dr. Nicola I (Den skjulte Skat) (role); Dr. Nicola ( Hvorledes Dr. Nicola erhvervede den kinesiske Stok ; How Dr. Nicola Procured the Chinese Cane ) (role); Barnet ( A Child's Love ) (role); Madame Sans Gène (role); Faderen ( A Father's Grief ) (role); Museumsmysteriet ( The Mystery of the Museum ) (role); Dr. Nicola III ( Dr. Nicola in Tibet ) (role); Et Budskab til Napoleon paa Elba ( A Message to Napoleon ) (role); Revolutionsbryllup ( A Wedding during the French Revolution ) (role)

1910

Sølvdaasen med Juvelerne ( The Jewel Case ) (role); Tyven ( A Society Sinner ) (role); To Tjenestepiger ( The Rival Servants ) (role); Kean (role); Medbejlerens Haevn ( Caught in His Own Net ) (role); Forraederen ( A Traitor to His Country ) (role)


* * *


When August Blom came to Nordisk Films Kompagni in 1909 it was the major film production company in Denmark, having been founded in 1906 by Ole Olsen. Nordisk dominated the so-called "belle époque" (from 1910 to 1914) in Danish filmmaking, and August Blom was the leading force in this period. In 1911 Blom became head of production at Nordisk, maintaining his position as a director at the same time. In charge of scripts and actors, Blom launched the career of Valdemar Psilander, who showed a natural talent for understated and realistic film acting. The actor became an immensely popular star in Denmark and Europe until his premature death in 1917. In 1911 Blom directed sixteen of Psilander's seventeen films.

In 1910 Blom made Ved Faengslets Port (released 1911) which, with Urban Gad's Afgrunden , introduced the erotic melodrama, a genre refined by Blom in the following years. Ved Faengslets Port is typical of the kind of films which made Nordisk famous all over the world. The story is about a young aristocrat who is in the grip of a moneylender and at the same time loves the moneylender's daughter. Although Blom tried to introduce contemporary themes in his films, the stories were always the weak part of his and most other Danish films in this period. The compensation for the banal magazine stories was found in the way Blom told these stories. His films are often about contrasts, social and sexual. The films are passionate and reveal the many faces of love with great imagination. As a former actor Blom put great weight on acting, and he had a fine feeling for the direction of actresses. His portraits of women are quite often subtle and daring.

Blom put immense care into the making of his films. The sets were used in a dramatic way, playing an important role in the story as a means of characterizing the people. His narrative technique made use of cross-cutting and, assisted by his favourite cameraman, Johan Ankerstjerne, he was an innovator in lighting. One of his stylistic devices, used to great and surprising effect, was the use of mirrors as a means of expanding the dramatic content of a scene.

Blom must be considered as one of the important pioneers in the early silent film. It was quite natural that Blom was commissioned to direct the greatest and most ambitious film of the period, a film which introduced a literary era in the Danish film. This was Atlantis , based on Gerhart Hauptmann's novel of 1912. This ambitious attempt to transpose a modern novel with a complicated plot and interesting characters to film benefited from the director's steady hand. Blom's direction of the film is astonishingly mature, confident, and imaginative, and in many ways Atlantis is ahead of its time. Johan Ankerstjerne's camerawork, for instance, points forward to the expressionist-inspired German films. Another fine film by Blom was Verdens Undergang . Blom made seventy-eight of his approximately one hundred films in the years 1910–14, but he was a company man, and he stayed with Nordisk in the years of decline. He left filming in 1924. During the golden age of the Danish cinema, however, Blom was the great stylist, a gifted and civilized director.

—Ib Monty

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