Sommarnattens leende (Smiles of a Summer Night) (1955) .rtf
Sommarnattens leende (Smiles of a Summer Night) (1955) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
Sommarnattens leende (Smiles of a Summer Night) (1955) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).srt
Sommarnattens leende (Smiles of a Summer Night) (1955)
In the lat 19th-century, a slightly-aging and totally amoral actress invites to her country-house party two married men---a lawyer and a count---who have both been her lovers in the past. She also asks them to bring along their wives. She has plans on taking one of them away from his present wife, but also ensure that all her guests leave paired up. The math doesn't work out until an uninvited guest also shows up.
Ulla Jacobsson ... Anne Egerman
Eva Dahlbeck ... Desiree Armfeldt
Harriet Andersson ... Petra the Maid
Margit Carlqvist ... Countess Charlotte Malcolm (as Margit Carlquist)
Gunnar Björnstrand ... Fredrik Egerman
Jarl Kulle ... Count Carl Magnus Malcolm
Åke Fridell ... Frid the Groom
Björn Bjelfvenstam ... Henrik Egerman (as Björn Bjelvenstam)
Naima Wifstrand ... Mrs. Armfeldt
Jullan Kindahl ... Beata, cook
Gull Natorp ... Malla
Birgitta Valberg ... Actress
Bibi Andersson ... Actress
"Smiles of a Summer Night" is one of the most elegant and charming carnal comedies ever filmed. It is clever, witty, and incredibly sexy. Did I mention that it was written and directed by The Ingmar Bergman whose name would not usually be associated with the comedies?
"Smiles of a Summer Night" was a great success with both the critics and the audiences and was submitted for the Cannes film festival…without its creator's knowledge. The film was nominated for the Golden Palm and won the Award for Best Poetic Humor. Bergman describes how he found out about his movie's international recognition, "I was sitting on the toilet reading a morning newspaper. One of the articles was entitled, The Great Victory for a Swedish Cinema at Cannes. I thought, what a wonderful news, what is the movie? And then I read the title, "Smiles of a Summer Night" by Ingmar Bergman." He recalls how poor he was then and he borrowed the money for a ticket to Cannes from Bibi Anderson whom he dated at the time.
I did not laugh a lot but I don't think I was supposed to - "Smiles... is a different kind of comedy, sensual and subtle, with the characters often weak but not ridiculous. The beauty of it is in the dialogs, ironic looks, the charming struggle of wits, and in the realization that not everyone will be blessed with the true and passionate love but the life goes on, anyway. The actresses (Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson, and Margit Carlqvist) were incredibly sexy, especially Eva Dahlbeck smoking a cigar and Harriett Andersson as a chambermaid talking to her mistress about the virginity – delightful!
There are no words to describe the beauty, splendor, charm, humor, and sensuality of this film. The best I can do - to paraphrase Woody Allen's line -"that was the most fun I've ever had without sex."
Ingmar Bergman's dramatic forays capture what is very essential to great dramas- the key emotions should be expressed like poetry, flowing to a rhythm even if it's somber and tragic. He uses this emotional logic with his actors for this comedy of manners and the heart (pre-Seventh Seal), where he has his screenplay wonderfully unfold the character's amusing feelings on love, sex, and dealing with the opposite gender, all the while making sure his players know the words and the music. Here he has Gunnar Bjornstrand, a regular later on, as a lawyer who has a son and mistress, but also pines for an actress who may not fancy him as much as she used to. Harriet Andersson, also a regular in other Bergman films (a key one being Cries and Whispers where she played the dying woman), appears as a young, joyful woman, who even gives the lawyer's son, a priest, a bit of lust here and there.
In fact, Smiles of a Summer Night is Bergman's most joyous film, though that's not to say there can't be grand moments of joy in his dramas and reflections on god. But in this film, he shows how he is a filmmaker quite competent to skillfully accomplish a story of real people in real romantic whimsies, and at times (such as a quick scene on a bed with two giggling, laughing girls) reveals his views on humanity are truly not as bleak as some might think. Assuredly a must watch for fans of the director, yet one may want to watch a couple of his dramas if they're just starting out on his films (depending on the mood- personally, this would serve as a great pick-me-up as opposed to the stark Cries and Whispers).
Men, as a gender, do not come off well in Bergman's charming sex comedy Smiles of a Summer Night, made only one year before his breakthrough hit, The Seventh Seal. At the center of the film is Frederik Egerman (Gunnar Bjonstrand) pompous and self-assured as a lawyer but insecure and frightened by competition as a lover. His son, Henrik (Bjorn Bjelvenstam), torn between the church and the bedroom, is filled with self-hatred for even thinking about going to bed with Petra the maid (Harriet Andersson). Another over-the-top male character is Count Malcolm (Jarl Kulle) a poseur whose only response to his wife's infidelity is to challenge the paramour to a duel or a game of Russian Roulette.
In Bergman's world, men are childish, selfish, and arrogant. The women on the other hand are stronger, more self-reflective, capable of pandering to the male ego and to direct their affections elsewhere when the need arises. They suffer greatly, however. Charlotte Malcolm(Margit Carlqvist), the Count's wife admits that she hates men and finds them repulsive with their "hairy" bodies but nonetheless is hopelessly in love with her philandering husband. She says that in any event "a woman's view is seldom based on aesthetics. And one can always turn out the light." Set at the turn of the century, Frederik is married to the very beautiful 19-year old Anne (Ulla Jacobson) but their marriage has never been consummated even after the passage of two years. Though it remains unclear as to why this is the case, nonetheless, Frederik is not at a loss for romance, taking up with a famous actress the equally lovely Desiree Armfeldt (Eva Dahlbeck), a relationship that began soon after Frederik's first wife died but never revealed to Anne. He confides in her in a way that he cannot with his young wife and she is a comfort to him though their relationship is full of bitter verbal thrusts and parries. Desiree on the other hand has a string of lovers and it is not hard to understand why, given her fame, beauty, and rapier wit. One of them is the aforementioned Count Malcolm, a ludicrous character with his military getup and macho posturing.
The Count is also not averse to playing around and it turns out that he is also married to the stately and elegant Charlotte. He says that he can accept someone making overtures to his wife but if anyone goes after his mistress, he becomes a "tiger". Later he says the exact opposite when his wife and Frederik have a go round. Oh yes, Henrik secretly desires Anne, and Petra, well she's open to any offers. The situation could have deteriorated into farce but in Bergman's assured hand, everything is resolved in a civilized and even graceful way at a gathering of all eight combatants at Anne's mother's country retreat. Here they all drink a mystery wine and sort out their relationships in a remarkably satisfying manner.
Smiles of a Summer Night came as quite a surprise to me, being used to the philosophical Bergman of Wild Strawberries and The Seventh Seal (yet always with an added bit of humor). I found it thoroughly enjoyable, an opinion apparently shared with Woody Allen whose film A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy mirrored it and Stephen Sondheim who based his musical "A Little Night Music" on the film. I can't remember when there was such a collection of beautiful women in one film. Not only do they look wonderful but act impeccably and say wise and witty things. Bravo Bergman!
* Inspired Stephen Sondheim to make the musical "A Little Night Music".
* This light, frothy piece (in terms of Ingmar Bergman's general oeuvre) was made whilst the director was undergoing financial troubles, stomach pains (he weighed only 125 pounds at the time) and a romance with Harriet Andersson that was on the rocks. Bergman later said that if he hadn't made this film when he did, he probably would have attempted suicide.
* To add to his woes, Bergman's producer at Svensk Filmindustri informed him that he would not be able to finance his next film if this one didn't perform at the box office.