Erotikon (1920)

Erotikon (1920)

“If you think a pretty outfit will butter me up, you are mistaken. It might fool your husband but not me.”

The bored wife (Tora Teje) of a professor (Anders de Wahl) flirts with a pilot (Vilhelm Bryde) and a sculptor (Lars Hanson); meanwhile, de Wahl gets cozy with his earnest niece (Karin Molander), who’s eager to make him a cabbage and mutton stew.


  • Marital Problems
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Scandinavian Films
  • Silent Films

Sweden was a key player in early silent cinema, with its two best-known directors Victor Sjöström and Mauritz Stiller. Stiller’s most acclaimed work was Gosta Berling’s Saga (1924), but a few years earlier he released this social satire which was clearly groundbreaking for its day (it was an international hit), but now comes across as merely quaint. The “erotic” nature of the dalliances at play are primarily confined to the characters watching an extended portion of an opera in which their own dilemmas are carried out by individuals wearing decidedly less clothing.

It’s all quite forgettable, really — but hardcore film fanatics with an interest in early cinema might be curious to see an example of an early attempt at a narrative form (romantic comedy) that would come to fruition in later years.

Note: This film is one among 16 titles in Peary’s book which were released during the first two decades of the 20th century, between 1912 (Quo Vadis?) and 1920.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • A light-hearted screenplay, well-filmed for the era

Must See?
No, unless you’re an aficionado of Swedish cinema. Listed as a film with Historical Importance in the back of Peary’s book.


One thought on “Erotikon (1920)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see – though, yes, those who have a particular interest in exploring international silent cinema may want to have a look.

    The extended ballet fantasia sequence is the visual (and somewhat striking) highlight – esp. in the way it serves as a reflection of the main plot. But that plot – a married woman acting strangely while swept up in the confusion of flirtation with another man – is rather odd.

    Strangest line of dialogue comes from the woman as she is walking out on her husband: “We did have lovely times together, Leo, dear. But you were never served mutton casserole.”

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