Review of I brist på bevis (1943)
Seen in 2022.
A medical doctor is accused of the murder of one of his best friends, a professor of psychology treating another academic for alcoholism. Eventually, everybody goes to Lapland.
The story is a mess, half of it a stilted theatrical melodrama with curtained Filmstaden windows in the interiors, half of it an escape from criminal suspicion to contemporary Lapland. The escape immediately fails because multiple other tourists somehow recognize the suspect, and the beautiful Arctic frolic is tonally disparate from the murder mystery. At least it’s less racist than I expected.
As Swedish first-wave film noir or as a portal to the much later “Nordic noir” subgenre, I brist på bevis is a dud. As kitsch, it’s a winner. Sound and lighting are inconsistent. It happened so far before du-reformen that kärring is still a term of endearment, and despite the noir influence, the writers apparently did not anticipate why institutional psychological care, with its pathological attachment to social status—demonstrated here—would come crashing down a generation later.