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.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Ingrid Bergman in her own words

A fascinating insight into the life and times of Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982) , her stardom and the toll it imposed. The film follows Bergman’s extraordinary successful Hollywood career in the 1940s, her VOYAGE TO ITALY with neo-realist director Roberto Rossellini, and her return to respectability in the 1950s, after that marriage and several films with Rossellini, after their child was born outside wedlock, causing that scandal of the time. It dives deep into the life of this beautiful and endlessly determined actress, indulging in a rich archive of Bergman’s life with photos (her father in Sweden had photographed her regularly as a child growing up) , home movies and letters on display. Her allure seeps through the entire film, revealing “a woman who was able to "subtly combine the noble and the carnal” (according to critic Roger Ebert).
The letters are read by Alicia Vikander, music by Michael Nyman, directed by Stig Bjorkman. 

As per label reports, we like Ingrid a lot here at The Projector, and I met her a few times (when I was  teenage autograph hound), and saw her on the stage twice, in London, and a few times at the BFI as well. I saw her in A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY in 1966 when I was 20, and then in 1971 in the Shaw comedy CAPTAIN BRASSBOUND'S CONVERSION, with none other than Kenneth Williams. She also attended a screeing of CASABLANCA at the old BFI, the NFT, when she was telling us about the making of the film, which was regarded as just another wartime potboiler then, and I can picture her mixing with and recognising people she knew. Another time she was sitting there and stating how the Rossellini films were finally being recognised as being so influential. They were not really available then, but are now on disk and we love VOYAGE TO ITALY from 1953. I actually saw this as a child at the time, and remember being fascinated by those chalk figures at Pompeii. Its certainly a forerunner of those Italian classics by Antonioni & Co. 
NOTORIOUS is still a key Hitchcock, and it was good to see her back in Hollywood too. She was always very pleasant to meet and chat to, and comes across perfectly here, as the film follows her from early days in Sweden, to Hollywood, Italy, France, Sweden and those final years in London, Her biography, written with Alan Burgess (author of the book that became INN OF THE SIXTH HAPPINESS) captures her final night in the theatre (at the Theatre Royal Haymarket) and her final time in front of the camera at the end of GOLDA. Its a very affecting book.
Ingrid had a lot of humour too, as evident in CACTUS FLOWER, THE YELLOW ROLLS ROYCE, and oddly, GOLDA when she was seriously ill. The home movies are fascinating here, focusing on the woman as opposed to the career, though we get a lot of that too, with her children commenting, and also interviews with Sigourney Weaver (who worked with her as a young actress) and Liv Ullmann, her co-star from AUTUMN SONATA.
Time I think to dig out INTERMEZZO, ELENA ET LES HOMMES,  DR JECKYLL & MR HYDE, GOODBYE AGAIN, AUTUMN SONATA etc. About the only of her major films I have not seen are THE VISIT from 1964 and 1969's A WALK IN THE SPRING RAIN, both with Anthony Quinn. Anyone seeing this documentary will want to go back to the movies where she reigned supreme. Fascinating extras on the dvd too, and lots more on Ingrid at label.

1 comment:

  1. Another superb article, Michael. This documentary is currently available on Amazon Prime so I must watch it before it goes.