Review: ‘House of Angels: The Second Summer’

Overlong and with a thin story, Colin Nutley's sequel to his 1992 hit "House of Angels" is a definite disappointment, despite top-notch thesping. Pic by the longtime Sweden-based Brit director has been a B.O. success locally, but offshore chances look less certain.

Overlong and with a thin story, Colin Nutley’s sequel to his 1992 hit “House of Angels” is a definite disappointment, despite top-notch thesping. Pic by the longtime Sweden-based Brit director has been a B.O. success locally, but offshore chances look less certain.

Original “House” racked up theatrical admissions of almost 1.4 million in Sweden and was sold to more than 15 countries. Both crix and audiences warmed to its lightly comic story of a streetwise city couple, Fanny and Zak, who arrive in a small village after Fanny inherits a large house from her grandfather. Despite the antagonism of several local big shots, Fanny wins over most of them by the end of the summer — with two, old man Ivar and farmer Axel, believing themselves to be Fanny’s unknown father.

In the sequel, Fanny (Helena Bergstrom) and Zak (Rikard Wolf) return to the village after a year of touring abroad. In the meantime, Fanny’s house has burned down and Ivar (Tord Peterson) has won some money on a lottery, which he, his brother Gottfrid (Ernst Gunther) and Fanny and Zak use to visit Ivar’s other brother, Sven, in New York.

The Gotham section has no N.Y. feeling, and nothing is made of the opportunity to show the effect on the two brothers of being in a big city for the first time. Curiously, Sven, who emigrated from Sweden in his teens, is portrayed as not speaking a word of Swedish.

Back in the village, discussions continue within the respective families about who is Fanny’s father, but after a while the audience really doesn’t care. Finally, following the death of a main character, Fanny and Zak leave at summer’s end.

Producer/director Nutley’s script leaves several subplots dangling. It would have been interesting, for example, to have followed the outcome of the advances by amorous priest Henning Collmert (Reine Brynolfsson) on Axel’s wife, Rut (Viveka Seldahl).

Still, pic features some good sequences, and performances down the line are tops, especially by Seldahl and by Gunther and Peterson as the two brothers. Nutley’s method of improvisation allows the thesps to develop their characters fully.

Photography by Jens Fischer (who also lensed the original) is, as always, superb.

Nutley is on record as saying there will not be a third “House.”

House of Angels: The Second Summer

(SWEDISH)

Production

A Svensk Filmindustri release (Sweden) of a Sweetwater Prods. production, in association with Svensk Filmindustri, SVT-2 Goteborg and the Swedish Film Institute. (International sales: Sweetwater Prods., Stockholm.) Produced, directed, written by Colin Nutley.

Crew

Camera (color), Jens Fischer; editor, Perry Schaffer; music, Bjorn Isfalt; production design, Gert Wibe; costume design, Asa Jarnas, Britt-Marie Larsson; sound (Dolby), Eddie Axberg, Lasse Liljeholm. Reviewed at Rigoletto Theater, Stockholm, Dec. 19, 1994. Running time: 137 MIN.

With

Fanny Zander ... Helena Bergstrom Zak ... Rikard Wolf Gottfrid Pettersson ... Ernst Gunther Ivar Pettersson ... Tord Peterson Axel Flogfalt ... Sven Wollter Rut Flogfalt ... Viveka Seldahl Sven Pettersson ... Ron Dean
With: Reine Brynolfsson, Jan Mybrand, Jakob Eklund, Ing-Marie Carlsson, Peter Andersson.
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