The only Finn on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame

There was an orchestra-backed performance last night in Helsinki of Mauritz Stiller’s 1919 film, The Song of the Scarlet Flower, with the original score by Armas Järnefelt – believed to be the first film soundtrack by a Nordic composer.

A recording will be released later this week by Ondine.

Stiller, a prolific director, discovered Greta Garbo and took her to Hollywood, earning his footprint of fame.

No Finn has ever made it there again.

 

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  • I think it is a little bit misleading to call Stiller Finnish. He was born in Helsinki, but Finland was at that time a Grand Duchy of Russia. Stiller left Helsinki and became a pioneer of the Swedish film industry from 1912. He received Swedish citizenship in 1921. He died in 1928 in Stockholm. So let us call him Swedish or Jewish-Finnish-Swedish.

    • Stiller family still lives in Finland, and it is a very prominent family among the local Jewish community. Simple fact is: Mauritz lived more years in Finland than in Sweden. Are you claiming that all people prior to 1917 were not Finns? That would be simply bizarre.

      • I agree! Your arguments are convincing. However, Stiller’s professional activities were basically in Sweden rather than in Finland. We can agree that both countries are of importance for Stiller.

        • I disagree a bit: actually, Stiller started as an actor in Finnish theatres at the age of 16. He was arrested by the Russian authorities based on antisemitistic laws. He fled the police to the nearest country at hand, Sweden. The same actors that he used in main roles in his films had also been actors in Finnish theatres in Helsinki (e.g. Lars Hanson, Edith Erastoff)

  • Sibelius never mastered the Finnish language and he identified himself as a Finn. There are lots of Swedish-speaking people in Finland who don’t speak the Finnish language yet they identify themselves as Finns.

    By the way it’s great the Helsinki Philharmonic unearthed this rare gem and got the score restored.

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