We’re getting married
Films of Norway
There was a time when love seemed innocent. The movies were in black and white, and the future seemed so colorful. People were humble and optimistic about the future. I think it must have been around 1951 (a few years before I was born), but the reason why I am able to describe this time as I do, is because I had the chance to see a movie that became a classic in Norwegian film history: Vi gifter oss—We’re getting married.
I have seen it at least three times, as it was one of the movies that seemed to be “coming back” on Norwegian TV, at least once, every decade!
One of the things I like about this movie is that I think it must have been the first romantic comedy ever filmed in Norway. There had been romantic movies earlier, but they were more in the heavy drama genre. And there had been comedy in the slapstick direction, but this movie must have been a trendsetter in the romantic comedy genre.
There are many things worth mentioning about this movie, for instance, the title song “Hva var vel livet uten deg,” translated into English as “What would life be without you.” It is performed in a lovely duet by Henki Kolstad and Astrid Herseth in a way that leaves no one in doubt: these two people are in LOVE.
So, what is the storyline in this golden classic?
The main character, Petter Gran, is a young musician, still living with his strict parents and struggling to make income from music. Kari is a secretary in a law firm and rents a one-room apartment in Oslo. It is not so easy to get privacy for their romance. Kari’s landlord denies male visitors, and Petter’s mother is constantly listening in on his phone calls, so the need for some “time alone together” for our love birds is getting critical.
The solution for both privacy and a place to live seems clear and simple enough: get married, buy some land, build a house, and live happy ever after.
Exactly the same solution that many people try today as well, but as many of us have learned, there is a slight difference between theory and reality. Funny enough, and despite 50 years in between and much progress in technology, people are still people, money is still not growing on trees, and a mother-in-law is often driven by the same emotions today as she was back then.
I hope you will forgive me for a little spoiler alert. There is a scene that I think is so charming and original that I just have to mention it, and I hope it will trigger you to actually set time aside to watch this movie. When the title song that I mention earlier is being performed, the camera is placed inside looking out of a window. Between this building and the next one, there are telephone cables, and on these cables there, birds are sitting in a configuration so that they form notes that’s actually referring to the song. A nice, impressive gimmick that charmed and impressed me, realizing that this was the way they solved creative ideas old-school style, before today’s fantastic possibilities in the wonderful world of movie production.
Another thing that is impressive about this production is that, thanks to great photo and editing, the movie has the capability to be both entertaining and gripping, despite a very low budget. Well done indeed!
If you are in for a love story that hasn’t become “rusty,” check this one out.
We’re getting married is one of the best classic films from Norway, and I am pretty sure you will be able to experience feel-good emotions as you watch it—and do not be surprised if you will find yourself whistling the theme song, (or singing it in Norwegian)— “Hva var vel livet uten deg”—after you have seen this one. Happy streaming!
Check out the film trailer for We’re getting married:
We’re getting married
- Director: Nils R. Muller
- Script: Nils R. Muller
- Producer: Norsk Film A/S
- Year: 1951
- Run time: 103 minutes
- Cast: Henki Kolstad, Inger Marie Andersen, Lars Nordrum, Erna Schøyen
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This article originally appeared in the March 12, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.