Viggo Larsen

Anarkistens svigermor
R: Viggo Larsen. B: Viggo Larsen. K: Axel Graatkjaer. D: Margrete Jespersen, Viggo Larsen. P: Nordisk Film Kompagni. Dk 1906
Print: Danish Film Institute

“Nordisk Film, whose logo is a polar bear on top of a globe, received immediate success with farces such as ‘The Anarchist’s Mother-in-Law’ (Anarkistens Svigermoder, 1906), literary films such as ‘The Lady with the Camellias’ (Kameliadamen,1907), and especially dramatic adventure stories like ‘The Robber’s Sweetheart’ (Røverens Brud, 1907) and the famous ‘The Lion Hunt’ (Løvejagten, 1907), where hunters chase and kill two lions, filmed on the little island Elleore in the Roskilde Fjord on Zealand. The films, directed by the company’s regular director Viggo Larsen, were 10-15 minutes long. Nordisk Film was also very successful internationally and in the following years established branch offices in a number of different countries, especially Germany, England and the USA.
The company’s eye-opening economic results lead to the development of a number of rival firms. It was one of these firms, the small company Fotorama, based in Aarhus, the country’s second largest city, that in 1910 released the melodrama ‘The White Slave Trade’ (Den Hvide Slavehandel), a remarkable film; it was three reels long (around forty minutes) at a time when a maximum of one reel was the norm. Nordisk Film immediately went about plagiarizing the film, releasing their version four months later. It was at this point that Nordisk Film, as the first company in the world, gambled on lengthier films. It marked the beginning of the short golden age for Danish film, which in the following years stood out in the international market.”
Peter Schepelern
Danish Film Institute

R: Viggo Larsen. B: Arnold Richard Nielsen. K: Axel Graatkjær. D: Axel Graatkjær, Viggo Larsen, Knud Lumbye. P: Nordisk Film Kompagni. Dk 1907
Filming Locations: Elleore, Roskilde Fjord, Denmark

“The ten-minute ‘jungle’ movie (215 meters of 35mm film) was actually filmed on location in Denmark. Scenes of the hunters in the forest were shot in Jægersborg Dyrehave park near Copenhagen. The animals were filmed at the Copenhagen Zoo with the camera aimed downward to avoid any view of the enclosures. The controversial shooting of two lions took place on the small island of Elleore in the Roskilde fjord.
In the summer of 1907, Ole Olsen decorated Elleore with palm fronds and artificial plants to simulate a tropical savanna. He then bought two elderly lions from the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, Germany for the large sum of 5000 deutschmarks. When the Danish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals learned about Olsen’s plan to shoot the lions for his movie, they protested to the Danish Minister of Justice Peter Adler Alberti. Alberti banned the filming. Two days later, however, Olsen defiantly shot the scenes as planned, then smuggled the film to Sweden. Olsen’s cinematographer, Axel Graatkjær, was arrested and spent a day in jail. At a court hearing, Alberti banned the movie in Denmark and revoked Olsen’s license for his Biograf Theater.”