Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Ingrid (and Maggie) as Hedda

HEDDA GABLER. A rare 1963 version of Ibsen’s play done for the BBC with a top notch cast headed by Ingrid Bergman as Hedda, with powerful support by Michael Redgrave, Ralph Richardson and Trevor Howard. It is though a truncated version of the play, just 75 minutes, but Bergman is quite effective as the despairing, malicious Hedda trapped in a marriage she does not want to a man she does not love. Making cruel fun of Aunt Julie's hat gives way to deeper schemes ... like Ibsen's A DOLL'S HOUSE (reviewed recently here, both versions), it packs a powerful punch. This '63 version has a more mature than usual cast ...
Having seen Maggie Smith in that powerful 1970 Ingmar Bergman production, above right, (so stunning I went to it twice) and also Jill Bennett in the role, it was one I wanted to see. Hedda seems to be the Hamlet for actresses to strive for and has been played by so many, even recently by young Sheridan Smith. Glenda Jackson must have been an effective HEDDA too, but Ingrid does ok here. Directed by Alex Segal and produced by Bergman's then husband Lars Schmidt and David Susskind. (Bergman and Redgrave teamed up again 2 years later for the very successful production of Turgenev’s A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY, one of the first plays I saw in London, in the mid-60s). 
Left, the 1970 Ingmar Bergman production for the National Theatre, which was staged entirely in red with the actors (including Robert Stephens and Jeremy Brett) in black against the red background, and right, Ingrid's 1965 succcess A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY, which had a long run in London, with Redgrave, Emlyn Williams, Fay Compton and Jeremy Brett again. He was also in that divine 1973 DESIGN FOR LIVING by Coward with Vanessa Redgrave in her prime and John Stride as that naughty threesome ... (Theatre label). I got Jeremy's autograph in 1965, it later sold for quite a bit as he had been Sherlock Holmes on TV ...

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