Edith Carlmar

1911 – 2003
Airing Fools in the Mountains (1957) on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 9:15 PM on TCM

Norway’s first woman director not only broke the mold in her native country in terms of gender, but she was also the first woman to direct a film noir with her debut Death Is a Caress (1949). In her final feature, The Wayward Girl (1959), Edith Carlmar introduced Liv Ullmann to film audiences in her first-ever leading role. During her 10-year career, Carlmar directed 10 features, all of them hits in her native land, as well as a handful of short documentaries. She began her career as a dancer and stage actress at the age of 15, before meeting her husband, producer Otto Carlmar, three years later. She didn’t make her screen debut until she was in her 30s, playing a small role in Helge Lunde’s Vigdis (1944). 

In 1949, she and her husband founded Carlmar Film A/S, which would produce all of her films as a director. Like her nearest American counterpart, Ida Lupino, Carlmar dealt with social issues from a distinctly feminine point of view, tackling abortion, drug addiction, mental illness and illegitimacy in a series of popular films that often pushed the bounds of censorship. She retired from feature-filmmaking after The Wayward Girl, only filming a short documentary about the National Theatre in Oslo in 1965.

Select Filmography

Death Is a Caress (1946)
Fools in the Mountains (1957)
Lend Me Your Wife (1958)
The Wayward Girl (1959)