January 5, 2011

The Monster : Per Oscarsson

We note, with great sadness, the passing of actor Per Oscarsson who perished along with his wife in a house fire, on or about New Year’s Eve.

An actor of extraordinary talent, Oscarsson performed on stage, television and a hundred films in a career that spanned 65 years. He was a Cannes Best Actor for Hunger (1966). He was still working, having last appeared as a recurring character in the films based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series.

In 1977, Oscarsson turned in a superb performance as The Monster in Victor Frankenstein, released to television in North America as Terror of Frankenstein.

The film, rigorously faithful to the Mary Shelley novel, suffers from a low budget, pedestrian direction and a pace so slow it sometimes crawls, but Oscarsson’s Monster, a striking, redoubtable figure with a yellow, ravaged face, black lips and piercing eyes, is unforgettable. Underplaying, earnest, and speaking in a soft, accented voice, Oscarsson conveyed pain, bewilderment, menace and barely concealed anger.

Per Oscarsson’s intimate, controlled performance as The Monster remains one of the best on record.

Per Oscarsson’s Wiki page and IMDB page.


Jeffrey said...

Aw, man, that's a real shame. I just rewatched that version recently, and was struck again by the power and cleverness of his performance. There isn't another version of the Creature quite like his.

Christopher said...

I was really struck by his monster performance in Terror Of Frankenstein..If the monsters gonna talk,this is the way he should sound..

Max the drunken severed head said...

Thank you for expressing with perfect clarity the values of Oscarsson's performance as the Monster.Your description is exactly right.

Here's an interesting parallel: Four years before, Swedish-American Boris "Bo" Svenson (a child emigrant) played the Monster in an American TV production seen on television here in the U.S., but theatrically overseas.

This is how VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN was seen by audiences here and abroad, but in reverse order--VF was a Swedish/Irish *feature* production, seen at movie houses overseas, then on TV here.

Do Swedes have a better understanding of the Monster?
Svenson in '73, like Oscarsson in '77, also movingly portrayed a Monster based closely on the original Shelley character.

Martin Powell said...

I'm very sorry to learn of this tragedy. Per Oscarsson’s performance as Mary Shelley's Monster was both pitiable and menacing. One of the best portrayals ever in the role. RIP, sir.

wich2 said...

Sorry to come here late.

As Max and Martin have said, Per gave one of THE best performances as the "genuine Marian" Monster. EVER.

And one that even stands - granting the different tacks taken by their respective projects - toe-to-toe with Karloff's masterpiece portrayal.

Rest to him, and comfort to his loved ones,

P.S. - And also agreed, that Bo's work is in the same illustrious ballpark.

David said...

I am sorry to hear of Oscarsson's passing. He was a fine actor. He was also (related to Terror of Frankenstein) in Calvin Floyd's Sleep of Death (1981), an adaptation of LeFanu's The Room in the Dragon Volant. He was very effective in that too. His creature was one of the best and possibly the closest to Shelley's conception. My condolences to Oscarsson's family and friends.

Erick said...

I have given your blog a "You make me SCREAM!!" blog award --