Carl Theodor Dreyer

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Carl Th. Dreyer
BirthplaceCopenhagen, Denmark
Film director

Dreyer, Carl Theodor


Born Feb. 3, 1889, in Copenhagen; died there Mar. 20, 1968. Danish director and scriptwriter.

Dreyer began his directing career in 1918. The film Leaves From Satan’s Book (1920) exhibits Dreyer’s striving for the maximal expressiveness of cinema language. In the films The Parson’s Widow (1920, Sweden), Michael (1924, Germany), and Master of the House (1925), whichcriticize the bourgeois way of life and morals, the basic theme of Dreyer’s films is presented—the loneliness of man, who defends his spiritual freedom and is at times doomed to death. This theme is most fully expressed in the film The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927, France), one of the most significant achievements of the silent film. In the films The Day of Wrath (1943, adapted from H. Wiers-Jenssens), The Word (adapted from the play of K. Munk), and Gertrud (1965, adapted from the play of H. Soderberg), Dreyer continued his experiments in cinema language and developed the main theme of his films, which increasingly lent themselves to a religious and mystical interpretation. Dreyer’s documentary films constitute a significant part of his contribution to the Danish art of the cinema.


Om filmen. Copenhagen, 1964.
Fire film. [Copenhagen] 1964.


Sémolue, J. Dreyer. Paris [1962].
Carl Th. Dreyer cinéaste danois, 1889-1968, 2nd ed. Copenhagen [1969].