Fru Inger til strt (Lady Inger of Ostrat) (1975)
Director: Sverre Udnæs.
Starring: Ingerid Vardund (Inger Gyldenløve), Frits Helmuth (Nils Lykke), Micha Gabay (Nils Stenssøn), Lasse Kolstad (Olav Skaktavl), Keve Hjelm (Jens Bjelke), Hennika Skjønberg (Eline), Ulf Palme (Peder Kanzler), Stein Grieg Halvorsen (Bjørn), Rolf Søder (Finn), Berta Hall (Grevinne Sture), Hardy Rafn (Fredrik 1.), Svein Scharffenberg (Einar Huk), Nils Ole Oftebro (Hans Breder), Ulf Håkan Janson (Bonde i Dalarne), Kerstin Magnusson (Gårdspike).
1528, Norwegian noble woman seeking independence for the nation in the time of the Kalmar Union (1396-1537) involving Sweden, Denmark and Norway; based on the play by Henrik Ibsen
"1528. Sweden has seceded from the union with Denmark and Norway [the Kalmar Union]. In Norway, too, the desire for independence is growing stronger. In Sweden, the peasants and the Sture family rise against King Gustav Wasa. The insurgents seek support in Norway, where Lady Inger Gyldenløve is the leading figure."
strt, Norway. A servant named Finn sings a song that says the Lady Inger was brought over by the King of the Danes and in return she's sold her people into foreign domination. He comes to the house of Lady Inger and sits down to eat a meal with the others in the household. Lady Inger comes down the steps and genuflects to a religious statue.
A young woman, daughter Eline, asks servant Bjorn to tell her a fairytale. So the servant tells the tale of a man that who once he'd looked into a woman deep in her eyes, she never would forget him. She says that's no fairy tale. That's the case of Nils Lykke, the Danish State Counselor.
Fredrik 1. hoff. October 1. Denmark. Nils Lykke reports to the King of Denmark [Frederick I, who reigned from 1523 to 1533]. The King says Lady Inger is waiting. "Ever since Gustaf Wasa followed our example, drove the greedy Church of Rome from his country, and introduced the doctrines of Luther, there have been constant rumors of an uprising in Sweden. And young Sir Sture is biding his time." If he lays claim to the Swedish throne, Lady Inger may lend him her support. He tells Nils Lykke to travel to Norway, but he must keep his journey a secret so that no one can ever accuse them of using force against Lady Inger. Instead of force, Nils is to use his cunning. And if Nils is successful, he will have once more the favor of the King. Furthermore, he will be given a post as ambassador to France.
Sture Slektens' Castle. Sweden. October 18. Peder Kanzler comes in the room to tell Lady Kristina: "I share your grief. But young Sir Sture's death must be kept secret." He says if the news of his death leaks out, the peasants will become divided. "And all hope will be lost." He gets Lady Kristina to promise that she will keep this secret quiet. The dead body is taken out to be put in a coffin elsewhere in the castle. The coffin is sealed.
Some Swedish soldiers throw a body into a river.
Peder Kanzler wants to make sure that Lady Inger is on "our" side. Another man says that Lady Inger doesn't want to. Kanzler says: "She must!" He tells Olaf Skaktavl to ride to strt and on the third night after Martinmas, he will send a man to meet Olaf there.
Kanzler writes a letter saying that Young Sir Sture is dead. He writes of Olaf saying the young man who will be carrying his letter to strt is the son of Sture the Elder and Lady Inger. His name is Nils Stensson. Kanzler writes that he reared the boy since he was one year of age and even to this very day he has refused to return the boy, now a young man. He thought by keeping the lad he would keep Lady Inger's good faith. But now it's the time for letting go of the fellow and, who knows, maybe this will succeed where all else has failed. "This is our last hope."
Kanzler has sent for the lad and now he arrives. He gives him the letter and tells him to give it to Olaf Skaktavl. Nils Stensson will receive further instructions from both Olaf and Lady Inger. As Kanzler looks closely at Nils, he says that Nils looks just like him. Nils asks who is the "him" he is speaking of, but Kanzler is not going to tell him that. He does tell Nils to be careful for Gustaf Eriksson Wasa's men could easily mistake him for "someone else".
In Norway Lady Inger says to herself: "They'd kill my son if they knew." She chases an elderly woman servant out of the room saying she told everyone that she wanted to be alone.
Nils goes riding along on his horse. As he passes by people, they seem to recognize him. He stops at a place to eat. He goes inside and people stare at his face. A man comes closer to Nils and says: "Greetings, Sir Sture!" Nils thinks they have mistaken him for somebody named Sir Sture. He asks if the people have mistaken him for this Sir Sture? The spokesman says they know it's him. In fact, it's only been two years since he was last here with them. "You can't travel through here unrecognized." He goes on to say that throughout the valleys, the peasants are rising up. Nils doesn't know what to say and starts laughing. The people start laughing along with him.
They feed Nils and then they give him a place to sleep. Then a pretty woman comes to be with him in bed. She tells him: "I have brought . . . me." Nils starts taking her dress off.
The men who threw a dead body into the river have now come in larger numbers riding through the forest. Nils hears the sounds of horses outside and he starts getting dressed. The young lady protests that he can't go alone because he said he would leave with a host of yeoman troops. He jumps out the window, puts his saddle on his horse and takes off.
Back at the tavern the warning goes out that Jens Bjelke and Gustaf Wasa's men are coming. The troops come in and start raping the women. They also light fire to the tavern and elsewhere. Jens Bjelke holds his sword to the throat of the tavern owner who now quickly says Young Sir Sture was here, but now he has gone northwest. Jens still drives the sword into him. He warns that they will come back and: "Then you'll see Sture's head." He now calls out to his men head toward Norway! To Trondheim!
Trondheim, Norway. Mortensmesse, November 11. [Trondheim lies near the western coast of south central Norway on Trondheim Fjord. Today it is the third largest city in Norway.]
Jens Bjelke arrives and runs into Nils Lykke. He asks Nils what brings him to Trondheim? Nils just asks virtually the same question of Jens. Jens says he's out hunting. And where is Jens going next? To Ostrat.
A man named Hans Breder grabs at Nils Lykke and Nils wants to know what the man wants. Hans says that the officer here in Trondheim said that he was looking for him. Nils tells him: "I've heard you can be relied upon." He wants Hans to take a message to Finn in Ostrat and tell him to expect a Danish State Counselor this evening.
Jens says to Lykke over some drink that either young Sture is wounded or he's a foolish coward. He gathered the peasants for an uprising, but then hides behind a woman's skirts. Nils suggests that he and Jens go together to Ostrat. No, he's not after young Sture. He's after Lady Inger herself. He goes on to say that Lady Inger could always use an influential son-in-law. The Lady is Norway's most powerful woman. He says that the woman's daughter, Lucia, once told him a lot about Ostrat. Lucia died, but he shall win her mother over for the Danish King.
On the road to Ostrat, Nils tells Jens that the Norwegian peasants will think they have come to attack Lady Inger. So it's best not to give people that idea. Jens says to himself about Nils: "You bastard. You can't fool me!"
At night Lady Inger comes outside. She sees a mass of people waiting there. Three young men push through the crowd to the front. Lady Inger asks them what do they want? They want arms. They want to go to Sweden to help the peasants there rising against King Gustaf. Lady Inger asks: "What would it cost us if King Gustaf's men were to triumph?" The spokesman says she should rather ask: "What would it cost the Danes if King Gustaf's men were defeated?" She says that King Gustaf is supported by Denmark. He asks: But what if all Norway joined the battle?
Lady Inger and the spokesman now go inside to talk privately. The man says: "If we defeat King Gustaf, the Danes can no longer stay here." Then Norway could choose its own king. She asks if he means a king from the Sture family? Then she says can't stop him from doing whatever he can on his own. She gives him a key and says: "It is you who wield the power at Ostrat tonight."
Finn gives Lady Inger a message. After reading the message, she tells an aide named Bjorn: "No armed man is to leave Ostrat tonight!"
The spokesperson comes to ask why the change of heart on the part of Lady Inger? She just tells him that no armed man is to leave the manor. "You are to do as I say!" The spokesman says they'll go anyway. That infuriates Lady Inger. She says: "We must resign ourselves to oppression a while longer."
She now tells Bjorn to open the doors to all who would come in. The young daughter Eline, asks Lady Inger why won't she let the peasants go? Lady Inger tells her not to expect her mother to explain her actions. Eline turns to leave, but mother tells her that King Frederick of Denmark has sent one of his most trusted men here tonight and this must remain a secret. "If we cannot crush the serpent, we must restrain it. How effectively we do so, will depend on you." The man might come and take Eline away for his wife, but the decision is up to Eline.
Eline says that her mother is like the mother who took her children to go over the mountain. Wolves followed at her heels and to get away from them she threw her children to the wolves one by one. "You've thrown your daughters to the wolves. One by one. . . . First Merete. . . . " Then she screams out loudly that mother let Lucia take her own life!
Alone, Lady Inger prays to God to help her. Jens and Nils Lykke arrive at night. Nils asks if anyone came in earlier tonight? The servant says there was a man who was immediately taken to Lady Inger.
Olaf asks Lady Inger: "Have you forgotten what I have to avenge? They divided my land between themselves. Killed my son like a . . . I've been an outlaw for 20 years." The man is Olaf Skaktavla working with Peder Kanzler. He asks for Lady Inger's help. The Lady says: "Every sword in Norway is rusty." Olaf says he first saw Inger 25 years ago. And she has changed. He adds that he loved Inger. And then they thought she would be the one to lead them back to freedom. And back then Inger thought the same way. She even swore to avenge all the wrongs committed against the people.
He changes tempo by saying that in Sweden there's an uprising in the valleys. Peder Kanzler sent him to Ostrat. He then says a stranger is supposed to meet him here tonight. [That person is Nils Stennson.]
Nils Lykke comes to see Lady Inger. She welcomes the State Counselor. She tells him straight out: "You laid one of my children in her grave. I have not forgotten." She also tells him straight out that Nils Lykke cannot have her daughter Eline. Listening in secret to the conversation is Eline.
Nils tells Lady Inger that there is one person who threatens Sweden's current King. Young Sten Sture is survived by his son. The son lived with his mother, but now he has stepped forward. The peasants have made him their leader and he is supported also in Norway. Nils then asks her a strange question. What if he, Nils, was to support the son too? He says the King of Demark realizes that they cannot get support from Norway if the Norwegians feel themselves oppressed by Denmark. So, they want to loosen the reins between Norway and Denmark. They want to support a new Swedish King -- a king who owes his crown to Danish support. He asks her to put away her suspicions and think about what he told her.
And now Nils Lykke wants to to take him to the messenger who came tonight from Sweden. The messenger is the man he has really come to see. So Inger brings Olaf to Nils. No one really knows who they can trust.
Eline makes an appearance in a nice dress. Nils goes to kiss her hand, but she pulls it from him. He tries to woo her over, but she then leaves the room.
Now the three politicians sit down for dinner. Nils leaves the dinner early.
Nils Stennson now arrives. He yells for the guard to open the gate.
Lady Inger tells Olav that if Nils Lykke really wants Eline, he won't leave Ostrat for some time to come. She also says that she does not want this Danish fellow for a son-in-law. "I want revenge. He has wounded me. I shan't rest until I have taken my revenge." If Nills could come to love Eline, then she would kick him out like a dog!
And right now Nils is up with Eline trying to woo her. But he says he doesn't love her and never will. He is leaving at daybreak. He leaves the room. Eline is upset about this.
Nils Stennson climbs over the walls to get inside Ostrat. There he is met by Nils Lykke who holds his dagger to the young man's throat. The Dane finally relents and says that Lady Inger is expecting him. He now asks Finn to bring some food to his room for the new guest.
The young man tells the Dane that he has waited a long time to see Inger Gyldenløve. The Dane now wants to get to the point. He gives a toast to Sir Sture! Nils Stennson says, so you think I'm Sir Sture too? He gives his name and says he's of good peasant stock. Peder Kanzler took care of him -- raised him. Nils Lykke asks then where is Sir Sture? The young fellow just says: "Dead." He died at his mother's castle three weeks ago. The Dane grabs the young man and says he's lying. Sir Sture rode through the peasants' valleys and crossed the border into Norway a few days ago. Nils Stennson says that was he who did those things.
Nils Lykke now says that the Swedish cavalry is after Stennson. And if they catch him, that could be his ending. The young fellow takes a big gulp. He says he may be able to avoid trouble if he can get Peder Kanzler's papers to the man who he does not know. He puts the papers on the table. The Dane picks the papers up and unrolls them to check them out. Nils Stennson just waits while the Dane reads the material. After reading the letters, he says to the Swede that now it's all up to him. Stennson will either hang on the gallows or carry a golden chain around his neck. He then shows the Swede that it says here in the letter that he is Sten Sture's son. The Swede says he can't read. And now, finally, he asks who is the Dane? Nils Lykke, the Danish Counselor.
Lady Inger asks Bjorn the whereabouts of Nils Lykke. He says he's still in his chambers. She asks Bjorn to fetch him.
Nils Lykke tells the young Swede that Lady Inger is his mother.
When Nils sees Lady Inger and Olaf he says yes, he is leaving tomorrow morning. Olaf tells him not before he has given him his papers. He gives him some papers. He says it's all the information Olaf needs about Denmark's supporters in Sweden. Olaf asks him where is the letter from Peder Kanzler? Lady Inger tells Lykke that Kanzler will refuse to help him when he hears that Lady Inger has no faith in Lykke. He replies that he can break Lady Inger with a few words. He says: "The secret of your son by Sten Sture." That remark does hurt Lady Inger and she steps back from Lykke.
Inger tells Lykke not to kill her son. She then asks where is he? "With his foster father." She says it was dangerous to be linked to Sten Sture and they took her son from her. She asks Lykke what he wants? He wants to to see to it that young Sture becomes King of Sweden. She says to him to give her son to her and give the throne to whoever. Then he tells her that her son is here in his chambers. So now Inger writes out her promise of assistance to the Danes.
Lykke now leaves. Inger says the man is a traitor! Olaf says Inger gave Lykke written assurance. She tells Olaf to ask the bailiff to get the peasants together again. Olaf leaves.
Lykke goes back to talk with Sten Sture, who asks if his mother knows he's here? Lykke says she knows but she refuses to acknowledge him. Sten Sture asks what can he do to win his mother over to him? The Dane says Sten must get himself a kingdom. Of course, she will pretend that he is the real Sten Sture, but once on the Swedish throne, he will be worthy of being called her son. Sten wants to see his mother now. They go see Lady Inger.
Lady Inger has a reserved reception for Sten Sture. She says it's up to him if a year from now they can say they're grateful for this meeting. Sten goes on one knee to his mother and says that he's hers to command. He will do everything he can to carry out her orders.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the peasant rebellion has his men grab weapons from the armory.
Lady Inger says Sture will have command of a cavalry unit. Before he can reach the border with Sweden, a whole army will have gathered. Olaf comes with some peasant soldiers and says they are ready. Lykke isn't sure he wants them going this instant. Lady Inger tells him: "You won't leave Ostrat until our victory is secured!" Now everyone but Lykke and the soldiers leave the room. Lykke tries to get out, but the soldiers keep blocking his way.
Finn tries to get past Lady Inger, but she orders the servant to be seized. He is seized by two soldiers and taken away.
Lady Inger speaks to a small army. She introduces them to Sten Sture as their leader. Sten thanks his mother and says when she sees him again, she will see a victor! He gets on his horse and shouts: "Follow me!"
Lady Inger now tells Olaf to follow Sten Sture to the border, but then ride to Peder Kanzler and get her real son.
Lykke is able to go see Eline. At first she bolts out of of bed and walks away from him. But then she drops her nightgown to the floor (brief nudity) and shows herself to Lykke. Breathing very heavily, she slowly walks over very close to Lykke's face. Lykke and Eline make love in her bed.
The two soldiers now give Finn a good beating. They get him down on the ground and one man hits him in the face repeatedly, while the other repeatedly kicks him.
Eline tells Lykke that she loves him. He takes off his ring and puts it on one of her fingers, saying: "Then be mine, in the eyes of God and man." They kiss passionately. He then gets up and tells her to show him the secret passageway for he must leave at once!
Sten Sture returns to Ostrat. He shouts for the guards to open up the gates. "Gustaf Wasa's men are hard on our heels!" The gates open.
Eline leads Lykke toward the secret passageway, but they find Lady Inger standing in their way. She says: "So that was the trap, Counselor. An ambush, now that you have a letter that might incriminate me." Lykke gives her back her written statement. She looks at it and then tears it up. Lykke tells Eline that he must go and to Lady Inger he says: "Let all be forgotten. And say nothing." He leaves.
Eline shows mother the ring Lykke gave her to wear. Mother is pleased. She says: "You are an obedient daughter, Eline. Keep a hold on him, now. Draw him closer and closer to you. If only we could break his false heart in pieces!" Now mother has confused Eline. So, Lady Inger tells her that it was Nils Lykke who laid her sister Lucia in her grave! Eline just stares at her mother. With her back literally against the wall, she slides down the wall to the floor.
Sten now shouts out for Inger Gyldenløve! He passes by two servants helping Eline to walk. She looks as though she's in a trance. Sten finds his mother and has to tell her all is lost. Olaf comes along and says right now the Swedes are forcing the gates open. Sten begs his mother not to let him die. Not now. "They'll hang me." Lady Inger shows him the secret passageway. He thanks her and runs out. Lady Inger wonders how could Sten know her secret? Olaf just says: "He wanted to sacrifice your son to save himself." Olaf goes into the secret passageway and stabs Sten in the mid-section. Now he says to Lady Inger: "I'll go to Sweden and fetch your son." He leaves.
Mother looks at Sten, but can't stand it and leaves. Sten falls over face first onto the floor.
Jens and his soldiers are in the courtyard. Lykke is with him and he tells Jens that the false Sir Sture is here, so don't kill him. Olaf rides out past the gates.
The soldiers gather around Lady Inger. She says that Sir Sture has killed himself. The soldiers go into the secrete passageway to find the body. Jens and Lykke arrive. Lady Inger asks Lykke where is Eline: "I lost her when she decided to get married. Like Lucia, all over again!"
The soldiers come out with Sten's body, confirming that Sir Sture did kill himself. And the man had around his neck this ring. Mother recognizes the ring as the one belonging to Sten Sture. She becomes distraught and starts crying over the young lad's body. Also upset is Lykke at how things went wrong for him..
So now Lady Inger has lost all her children.
The Swedish soldiers leave Ostrat.
Spoiler Warning: Lady Inger is a Norwegian patriot and wants Norway to be free of Denmark and the Kalmar Union. Sweden had just recently dropped out of the Kalmar Union. Perhaps Lady Inger is too patriotic for she schemes for success using her own children. And like the self-centered mother with her children in the forest followed by wolves, she saves herself by throwing her children one by one to the wolves. In a way it reminds me of a Shakespearean tragedy. The hero has one fatal flaw: hubris (even if it is modified by patriotism). She uses her children as pawns in her political games and it's they who take the full repercussions of her schemes. Lady Inger plays her hand out until she has no cards (children) left to her. Very good movie based on the work of Henrik Ibsen, the great Norwegian writer. Ingerid Vardund (as Lady Inger Gyldenløve) was very good in her role.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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