Archive for Swedish film

Intermezzo – 1936

Posted in Film, Foreign Language with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2010 by shesaidsvengali

Intermezzo - 1936

It is with a heavy heart that I come to you today. I had so hoped to share with you Intermezzo, the film that launched Ingrid Bergman to international fame. Originally filmed in 1936, this Swedish film was remade in America in 1939, and to my utter disgust, that’s the only copy of it I can find online. I couldn’t even find a better picture to use than the one you see to your left. Why it was necessary to remake this film, I will never know. I suppose reading subtitles was far too much to ask of an English-speaking audience at the time. While the remake does utilize the talents of legendary cinematographer Gregg Toland (of Citizen Kane fame) I question whether it can compare to the original.  At least we have the success Intermezzo to thank in both of its incarnations for launching Bergman’s career. Without it, who knows who may have starring with Bogey in Casablanca.

Since I can’t give you a link to the original Swedish version, I suppose that I will have to make due with the English remake. I can’t say much about the remake as I have never seen it, but if it’s anything like the original, it is worth a viewing based on the story alone. In the original, Bergman plays Anita Hoffman, a piano teacher who falls in love with her pupil’s father, Holger Brandt (played by Gosta Ekman), an internationally renowned concert violinist. Brandt leaves his family for a torrid love affair with Anita, and takes her on tour as his accompanist. It isn’t long before Anita realizes that Brandt’s place is not with her, but with his wife and children and that their relationship was nothing more than a brief “intermezzo” in his life. It’s a beautiful interpretation of what would be referred to today as a midlife crisis. You wind up really feeling for all the characters, even if some of them were less than noble at times.

I highly recommend this film based on the fact that we all go through an “intermezzo” from time to time. I’m not advocating leaving your family – quite the contrary in fact. If anything, this film illuminates the fact that although we may feel at times that we need a change it is important to remember what is the most important in your life. Affairs never end well and even if you have the best of intentions it can only end in tears. To quote the eloquent words of Rod Stewart: “Why, oh why – would you give it all up for a moment of glory?” If anyone would know, it would be Rod.

If you are ever able to get your hands on a copy of the 1936 version, buy it. Watch it. Suck it up and read the subtitles. Until then, I grudgingly bring you Intermezzo: A Love Story. *Gag*
Glücklicher Geburtstag, Leibchen.