Gurly Drangsholt is the first woman we know who played a role behind the camera on a Norwegian feature film production during the silent era. True or false? She is known for her collaboration with Harry Ivarson on the screenplay of the crime film Madame Besøker Oslo/Madame Visits Oslo (1927), based on a work by Alf Rød. The film was directed by Ivarson and premiered on October 17, 1927. However, in the surviving premiere program, Drangsholt is also credited as assistant director and head of production, credits confirmed in Lars Braaten’s Norwegian filmography. Madame Besøker Oslo, in which two swindlers try to steal the property of a wealthy banker who has died while abroad, is categorized as both crime comedy and crime drama. The heir and nephew, played by Erling Drangsholt, Gurly’s husband, succeeds in bringing the swindles to light. The film was a departure for the small Norwegian film industry. Norwegian films made in the 1920s were set in a vague past and in what could be called national-romantic surroundings. Madame was marketed as something different: “Norwegian film takes a new road,” cheered the periodical Filmen og Vi/The Film and Us in a September 1927 preview article. The article asks if Norwegian film has at last matured, observing that Madame leaves the peasants and the countryside behind and is instead set among the luxurious estates along the Oslo fjord with sailing yachts, riding horses, cars, and Norway’s famous Hankø Regatta. Even a private airplane is part of the action, this indicating the distance from the typical Norwegian film set in a beautiful but modest and traditional countryside.
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