Saturday, January 1, 2011
Rest in peace, Per Oscarsson...
I’m gonna begin 2011 with a sad note, Per Oscarsson died yesterday – his house burned down and he, together with his wife Kia Östling died in the fire. I can’t state how important Per Oscarsson has been for the film- and theatre legacy in Sweden. He had a very special acting style which became odder and odder over the years, easy to imitate – but impossible to look down at. He was one of the most famous actors in Sweden, up there with Max Von Sydow and Erland Josephson.
Oscarsson was a true international actor and did his fair share of bigger productions, far from the Swedish borders. Often as the baddie, or Russians or Germans – the typical characters a Swedish actor with an accent gets. Sam Peckinpah’s TV-movie Noon Wine, Anthony Mann’s A Dandy in Aspic, The Last Valley (1971), The Night Visitor from the same year, the excellent Agatha Christie-movie Endless Night, The Blockhouse with Peter Sellers, the monster in Calvin Floyd’s Victor Frankenstein (he worked with Calvin Floyd’s 1981 movie The Sleep of Death) and a couple of early Mats Helge Olsson-productions. He was the co-producer of Olsson’s boring historical comedy Sverige åt Svenskarna, which made him go bankrupt. For you Stieg Larsson-fantastics out there, he also starred in The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
A personal favourite of mine is Arne Mattsson Vaxdockan, a surreal and controversial thriller where he plays a man falling in love with a mannequin doll.
But he might be most famous for the biggest TV-scandal in Sweden during the sixties, when he started a striptease during a monologue. It was at Hylands Hörna, the most popular family-show in Sweden (probably the only one), and EVERYONE that had a TV was watching that show. People demanded his head on a stick after seeing Oscarsson in only his underwear – and Oscarsson forever was connected to the wonderful Fuck You-attitude that he in a gentle way learned Sweden.
When me and Markus Widegren made Kraftverk 3714 some years ago I wrote to Per Oscarsson to ask him if he wanted a role in our movie. I got a hand-written letter back, with a very polite “no thanks”. I need to dive in to my old archive and dig that up, so I never will loose it.
Rest in peace, Per. You won’t be forgotten.