While never as highly regarded as those illustrious filmmakers who surrounded him, the early films of director Alf Sjöberg helped Swedish cinema thrive during its transition from silent to sound films. For his work as a director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm from 1927 through the 1930s, Sjöberg was considered the father of modern drama. He directed his first film, Den Starkaste, a well-regarded adventure, in 1929, but his film career didn't really take off until the 1940s. As a filmmaker, Sjöberg's versatility kept him from being considered a true auteur like his immediate predecessors, Sjöström and Stiller. Still, he earned real international acclaim in 1942 for the deeply spiritual Himlaspelet (The Road to Heaven). Around the early '40s, Sjöberg acted as mentor to young screenwriter Ingmar Bergman, who later credited Sjöberg as his primary inspiration and guiding light. Sjöberg continued directing though the late '60s. The 1950s, which produced such works as the internationally acclaimed Fröken Julie (Miss Julie) (1951), are considered Sjöberg's golden age.