Greta Berthels began her acting career at the Folkteatern stage in Stockholm, where she was active 1920-1924. She mainly acted in farces, playing domestics and factotums, a type she would also portray in around 20 films between 1927 and 1959. She felt at home with the genre, which coincided quite well with her choice of life partner; in 1917 she married actor-screenwriter-director Theodor Berthels who was extensively busy in all these positions from 1921 to 1951, and who primarily invested his energy in comedies and farces of the more plain kind – as was very much the trend on both stage and screen during this period in Sweden.
The couple did start out with some ambition: in 1926 Greta wrote a screenplay based on composer Wilhelm Peterson-Berger’s Viking drama “Arnljot”, specifically the theatre version of his opera of the same name from 1910. Mr Bethels directed and Greta was given a larger role as Arnljot’s maid. However, the film Arnljot became a huge audience and critical failure, found to be stiff, un-cinematic and badly played. The couple returned to the genre they felt most at home with, but initially retained the task of directing (he) and writing (she). Greta wrote the script for Min fru har en fästman (“My Wife Has a Fiancé”, 1926), Norrlänningar (“Norrlanders”, 1930) and Hans Majestät får vänta (“His Majesty Can Wait”, 1931). It can be noted that Greta Berthels wrote the last two scripts under the pseudonym Herbert Gran – probably because of the harsh criticism of her first attempt.
There would be no further scripts from Ms Berthels, who would at least grace some reasonably decent productions with her acting talents; Valborgsmässoafton (Walpurgis Night, 1935), Katrina (1943) and Åsa-Hanna (1946) are among the best. One will not see her in any greater parts, though; she turns up as midwife, concierge or yet another domestic, usually of the “pepperpot” type. In 1949, she was given a rare leading part in the first instalment of the rural comedy series Åsa-Nisse (Nisse on the Ridge, 1949), where she played Nisse’s wife Eulalia. In the following Nisse films, however, she would be replaced by Brita Öberg. Greta Berthels ended her screen career with three smaller parts during the 1950s, all of them within her familiar brand of type portrayals, which she through the years had perfected to a tee.
Bengt Forslund (2018)
(Translated by Jan Lumholdt)
Main profession: Screenwriter
Hans Majestät får vänta (1931)
Norrlänningar : En historia om baggböleri och kärlek (1930)
Min fru har en fästman (1926)
Brott i Paradiset (1959)
Ingen mans kvinna (1953)
Lång-Lasse i Delsbo : En krönika i bilder om en väldig Herrans stridman (1949)
Flickan från fjällbyn (1948)
Tösen från Stormyrtorpet (1947)
Det glada kalaset (1946)
Iris och löjtnantshjärta (1946)
Svarta rosor (1945)
Släkten är bäst (1944)
Dolly tar chansen (1944)
Vårt frihetsarv och framtidsvärv : En film om dagens och morgondagens Sverige (1942)
Uppåt igen (1941)
Den blomstertid … (1940)