Derek Winnert

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This article was written on 01 Jul 2016, and is filled under Uncategorized.

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Smiles of a Summer Night [Sommarnattens leende] **** (1955, Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand) – Classic Movie Review 3954

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Swedish writer-director Ingmar Bergman’s enchanting 1955 bitter-sweet story about couples struggling to sort out their complicated romances at a weekend in the country in late-19th century Sweden makes for a delightful and sympathetic movie.

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There, the ageing attorney Fredrik Egerman (Gunnar Björnstrand), invited with his new young bride Anne (Ulla Jacobsson) and her stepson Henrik (Björn Bjelvenstam), re-encounters his old actress mistress Desirée (Eva Dahlbeck).

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The cast, particularly Jacobsson, Dahlbeck and Bergman regulars Björnstrand and Harriet Andersson (as Petra the maid), play it to perfection. The film is poignant and melancholy, but mostly adopts a surprisingly light-hearted mood for the normally naturally gloomy Bergman. Gunnar Fischer shoots it in gleamingly luminous black and white.

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Also in the cast are Margit Carlqvist, Naima Wifstrand, Jarl Kulle, Ake Fridell, Margit Carlqvist and Bibi Andersson.

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Stephen Sondheim turned it into his stage musical A Little Night Music (though Bergman wouldn’t let him use the original title) and Bergman fan Woody Allen raided it for his similarly set up and plotted A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982).

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© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 3954

Check out more reviews on http://derekwinnert.com

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