Elvira Madigan (1967) Script


In 1859, a Swedish army lieutenant, Count Sixten Sparre... and a Danish tightrope walker, Elvira Madigan, alias Hedvig Jensen...

shot themselves in a forest in Denmark.

This film is their story.


What is it, Sixten? A bee-stung my arse!

I won't be able to sit down, ever! Never in my whole life!

Come, let me blow on it.

CHRISTIANSTAD, SWEDEN Captain! First troop ... as ordered.

Captain, Second Army, as ordered!

Where is Lieutenant Sparre?

Are you happy?

Are you happy?

I'm so happy, Sixten.

I can hardly believe that I dared to escape.

I was always brave on the wire, but nothing but a coward on the ground.


Where the hell's Elvira? Without her, they'll want their money back.

Let them search for me. Even I hardly recognize myself.

Stop that!

Hold the mirror for me.

Call me Hedvig. It's my real name.

Dear, sweet Hedvig.

See the bear? Like those trick pictures.

Not a bear. It's a rabbit. -It's a bear. Can't you see?

Rabbit! -Bear!

What is it? -Feel for yourself.

Just imagine it: News report-- "Missing: Lieutenant Sixten Sparre.

Description: with half a beard ... can not and will never sit.''

Do you love me?

You gave me back my name.

Before you, I had to be both Hedvig and Elvira.

Now I know who I am.

First we need to buy civilian buttons for your coat.

How much money do we have?

Don't worry; we'll get by.

How much? -18 Million ... and 11 farthings.

A gift. You have more use for it.

How elegant. -You see, I'm a civilian now.

Thank you so much.

It looks expensive. Can we afford it, Sixten?

What a beautiful couple! Think will stay in our hotel?

I think I saw them in the woods ... but the man had a beard and golden buttons, so it can't be them.

Do you like it?

I can't sleep with that in the room. What can we do about it?

Have you seen this, Sixten? Who designed it?

A cripple. He never said his name.

He drew me while I was sitting in a cafe in Paris.

May I borrow a needle and thread?

Black? -Yes, please.

Thank you.

You are the cook of the hotel? -Yes, I cook, clean and do everything.

You are a busy woman. -I certainly don't sleep all day long.

Let me try. Can I? -Yes.

Let me show you how it's done.

No, wait. I have another skein here.

Cast on and try again.

I've never sewn on a button before.

You can support us as a seamstress.

If you fall, well, you can't do anything about it.

I fell, but I was lucky. In Venice.

I danced on a rope over the canal.

An orchestra played on a raft in the lagoon.

By the light of burning torches. Oh, I love Italy!

You ask if I'm happy?

Sometimes I wonder if I deserve to be so happy.

What we're doing is perhaps not allowed yet.

But one day people will be able to choose more than one way to live.

People will have courage to admit that they change.

The war... You've seen the war, Sixten?

You're a soldier, but you know nothing about your job.

War is a soldier's job, right?

Our circus tent burned down in Paris. It was hit by a grenade.

I was only 2 years, but they told me. It was in 1871.

All animals died on fire. I remember the smell.

War is not pompous parades, Sixten.

It's the smell of burning flesh.

Today, nothing is sacred. Nothing.

Sporrong, Stockholm. Where did you get that?

In the forest.

"When John arrived in Stockholm, he borrowed money for rent.

Always extremely sensitive... he wanted to live where he used to watch the workers' parades."

Have you seen the clothesline? -No.

"We are speaking of our circus princess,

Elvira Madigan.

The circus came to town... and performed at Rullan's arena.

Right away, everybody Coved Miss Elvira.

They loved her more and more with each performance.

But one day she disappeared without trace.

In their sorrow, her parents...

tried to hide the fact that she had run away."

Let me see.

"It was clear, as soon as one saw her... that she was a highly strung, sensitive creature.

With her silky, golden hair flying... she looked more like a spiritual vision than human flesh and blood.

A strange fire lived in her eyes... and a cold smile seemed always to play on her lips... despite the ardent enthusiasm of her admirers."

Excuse me.

"Missing: Elvira Madigan, Sixten Sparre."


I did not recognize you at first. Our guests will be so excited... when they know that Elvira Madigan is staying here.

I think Larsen baked a cake. Let me go and tell him.

No, please!

See! See who's disappeared ...

What do you mean? -The scarecrow, the gold buttons.

It has to be them-- Sparre and Madigan. I'm going to report them.

What'll they do to him? -As a deserter, prison.

I can't whistle, Sixten.

Miss Elvira, they know who you are.

I just spoke with Madsen. He has a horse for you.

You must pack right away. -Hurry, Sixten.


You forgot your knitting. You'll need a sweater come autumn.

I've got one! Easy! Easy!

Slowly! Slowly!

Where is the fish? Did we lose it?

Here! We have food, Hedvig.

Food, we have food!

Find a good place for a fire while I gather sticks.

I have to clean the fish.

So I finally found you after a week of looking.

I've been searching for you for a week.

Nobody knows I'm here.

Not even... -Not even Henrietta.

How are the kids?

Christian had pertussis Louise has lost a tooth.

-Where? Well here.

She is so proud.

Now she can spit with her mouth closed.

She always envied her brother that skill.

This is the friend I know! -No ... is not.

I'm on the women's side now. Unravelling wool. Lying on the grass.

I know about lying in the grass.

If you look at a blade of grass that's close to your eye... that blade is clear but nothing else is.

We have to make choices, Sixten.

I believe one blade of grass can be the entire world.

And the world is nothing without grass.

We need to start somewhere, start with something real.

Words have lost their meaning for me lately...

and other things have come to life instead.

Our royal parades... horses' hooves, drums... bayonets bright and sparkling.

You know how many layers of skin a bayonet to cross ... before reaching your guts?

I looked it up in a medical book.

Epidermis, dermis, subcutaneous ... a thin fat layer, then the aponeurosis. You know what that is?

It's like a skin that covers and protects muscles.

Then the muscles. Through it all before you reach the guts.

Need to know it layer by layer. Need to examine things closely.

She's distorted your vision.

Yes, I agree, she has.

But isn't that what love is?

To borrow another person's eyes... to-to experience the world...

as your beloved sees and feels it?

Isn't that what love is?

What a fellow! Taking a carton of eggs to the opera.


-What is your favorite aria? The egg aria...

Thank you.

-What did he do with the eggs? Who?

Lauritzen. -He ate them.

Shall we say it's me who's on duty?

You're shivering. I'll get your coat.

What shall we say to each other?

You did that very skillfully, but can you really afford it?

There are times when you don't question the cost.

Are you happy? I know someone who is unhappy...

One, two, three, actually. -I know that Sixten has two children.

But I know nothing about them.

Don't you ever think of the ones he left because of you?

What gives you the right?

I need him too. -What you need is an admirer.

In your profession, I'm sure that has many opportunities.

He is not the first, that's true, but he's the best.

Up to now. There will be others.

No. He's the last for me.

It's not just about people. He's betrayed his country too.

My mother is German, my father Danish.

My stepfather is American. I have friends in France and Italy.

Look, my hand is like a map.

Here are the lines, like borders.

What does it matter where the lines are?

I worry about the hand. The whole hand.

There aren't any cigars left. Remember Axelson's trousers?

His pipe went round and round.

It was a good summer. I remember because Christian was not well.

I nursed him every morning.

The sun was shining through the curtains Belgian lace... and made patterns on Christian's bed.

I have to tell you something - something difficult.

Henrietta tried to kill himself.

She tried to drown herself.

After she'd put the children to bed.

You knew she was there? You lied about Henrietta?

Then you're no longer my friend!



He was lying, he lied about Henrietta.

You must come back.

Hedvig, my love, look at me!

"To Father from Louise"

I'm going for a walk.

Can I help somehow?

Can I help you with something? No, it's not your kind of work.

What does it say? -"T.L.," I think. I can't remember his name.

He sketched me in a cafe in Paris.

He was a cripple.

A cripple's work isn't worth much.

How about two crowns?







I bought cream for raspberries. See how thick it is.

Did you buy some wool as well? -Yes. I had enough for some wool.

It'll do the front and a sleeve.

Then there's only one sleeve left to do, and I've money left over.

"Performing Artists Wanted For Annual Craftsmen's Fair."

Can I help you, miss?

You're looking for performers? Yeah, what do you do?

I'm a tightrope walker. -We don't need that.

But we have a good floor. Can you dance on it?

Show me your legs.

Your legs!

A little higher.

All right. 25 crowns.

Tonight, at eight.

She's a pretty little piece, eh?

Think I could have her?

I'll tell you one thing, I could really do her!

What are you doing out here? You saw her knees?

She was kind to me ...

He's all right, but we better get away from here.

They know who we are.

Why did you show your knees?

You weren't supposed to - or were you?

How much did you show?

Up to here?

Or here?

Why did you do it? I can't go and get my money now.

Don't you see, it's not my knees we're quarrelling about.

It's something else.

Don't talk about love, Sixten. Can we butter our bread with it?

You want me to find a job?

Is it?

Where? Tell me!

Want me to find a job?

Tell me! Where?

How am I supposed to do it?

Should I go in and say...

"My name is Count Sparre.

I have deserted from the Swedish army. Can you give me work?"

Is that how I should do it?

"Forgive me."

Don't you understand what we have to do, Sixten?

Do not say that.

We need...

We have no choice.

Sorry, I've made a mistake.

Sorry, I'm not well today.

I'm so hungry.

Tell me how it's done.

Heart. -The temple.

And we thought we knew everything about our bodies.

How about some eggs?

We don't have any eggs. -Just give me a minute.

Do not be sad.

We're just going out to have breakfast.

How do you want your eggs? -Hard-boiled.

How hard? -I'm sorry?

-For how many minutes? Four.

From the start?

No four minutes ...

after the water boils.

How many slices of bread do you want?

Is everything ready?


So let's get going.

"I hope this covers the rent. Forgive the inconvenience."

You never told me your name.

You never told me your name. My name is Anton.

My name is Sixten.

I can't do it.

You have to.

I can't. -You have to.

You need to do. We have no choice.

I can not.