Ingmar Bergman is simply one of the great Masters of cinema. In all of his career – producing over 60 films and documentaries for the cinema and television – he made masterpiece after masterpiece – hardly ever hitting a bum note.
When I started work upon this article, I had originally envisioned writing about five Bergman movies. But as I began work on the article, I realised what an insult I had delivered to Bergman – only writing about 5 films, as if that represented the sum of his career. The list bloomed and bloomed until I compromised on 15 Bergman films and I am happy with this list as it showcases the best of his mighty film arsenal.
If you disagree with any of the choices, please comment below.
15. Smiles Of A Summer Night (1955)
Bergman does comedy this time with his turn of the 20th century rom com. Frederick Egerman is a successful lawyer who has a young 19 year old bride called Anne who won’t give up the goods if you know what I mean. His young son from his first marriage – Henrik – is training to be a priest and thus lives a celibate life. Petra is their hapless servant who falls in love with anything that has a penis.
Frederick and Anne go to the theatre and Frederick meets an old mistress called Desiree. He goes back with Anne to Desiree’s house. Frederick slips in a puddle and Desiree gives him one of her current lover’s shirts – Count Malcolm. Desiree plots a night for the couples to get together (she wants to seduce Frederick). Over the course of the night, four couples are formed.
Bergman is not renowned for making comedies, quite the opposite but this film is a delightfully raunchy and funny look at sexual and romantic mores. The film has a great deal of charm and sensuality. Men do not come away looking good in the film – the emphasis is on strong, confident women who know their own minds. Plus the actresses all do a sterling job and are easy on the eye. The film is actually pretty edgy in its subject matter – the conversations between the women in the film are sexually very frank and must have encroached upon rarely seen taboos of the day. A highly enjoyable slice of fun from Bergman that apparently he made after a serious bout of depression. He was either going to kill himself or make this film. Thank heavens he chose the latter.
This article was first posted on June 9, 2013