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Ingrid Bergman in Sweden: DVD Box Set (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

October 14, 2011 by  



Before she became a legendary actress in Hollywood, Ingrid Bergman had done several Swedish films.  And now three of those films are showcased in Kino International’s “Ingrid Bergman in Sweden” DVD Box Set.  If you are a fan of Bergman or are curious about early Swedish cinema, this box set is definitely recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2011 Kino International Corp. All rights reserved.

DVD TITLE: Ingrid Bergman in Sweden: DVD Box Set

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: Intermezzo (1936), A Woman’s Face (1938), June Night (1940)

DURATION: Intermezzo (88 Minutes), A Woman’s Face (96 Minutes), June Night (85 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Black and White, Full Frame (1:37:1), Swedish with English subtitles

COMPANY: Kino International/Kino Lorber

RATED: NOT RATED

RELEASE DATE: 2011

Today, Ingrid Bergman’s name is synonymous with Hollywood’s golden age as a three-time Oscar winner and the star of such classics as Casablanca, Gaslight and Notorious. However, before she became a Hollywood legend, Bergman was the star of a series of Swedish films in the 1930s which are being rediscovered as a vital, if long-overlooked period in her singular career. Contains INTERMEZZO (1936), A WOMAN’S FACE (1938), and JUNE NIGHT (1940).

“She had talent they could not have made up Ingrid Bergman seemed as natural in her early films as she was dazzling – The Boston Globe.

Like Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, foreign actresses who would make their debut Hollywood and would be embraced by an International audience, from Sweden, there was Ingrid Bergman.

Winner of three Academy Awards, two Emmy’s, a Tony Award, each for “Best Actress” and considered one of the greatest female actresses of all time in America (ranked #4 in the American Film Institute’s “Greatest Female Star”), there is no doubt that Ingrid Bergman is looked at as a classy, talented actress.

Best known for her roles in “Casablanca” (1942), “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1943), “Gaslight” (1944), “The Bell of St. Mary’s” (1945), Hitchock’s “Spellbound” (1945) and “Notorious (1946), “Joan of Arc” (1948) and later in her career for “Anastasia” (1956), years before she began making Hollywood films, there was Ingrid Bergman, the Swedish actress.

Making her cinema debut in 1935 with “Munkbrogreven”, Bergman would not make her Hollywood debut until 1939. But before then, she had made several Swedish films and three of them are included in the Kino International DVD Box Set titled “Ingrid Bergman in Sweden” which would contain her films “Intermezzo” (1936), “A Woman’s Face” (1938) and “June Night” (1940).

Please click on the following review for each film:

Intermezzo

A Woman’s Face

June Night

 When it comes to box sets dedicated to a legendary actress, I personally love them and own a good number of them in my cinema collection.  And I’m proud to say that I’m so happy to have watched the films included in Kino International’s “Ingrid Bergman in Sweden”.

I adore Ingrid Bergman’s work and to have a DVD Box set dedicated to her, especially during these times where classic sets dedicated to an actress are rarely being released these days, I’m quite thrilled with this set.

While I would love to see her Swedish film from 1935, I’m still happy to see that “Intermezzo”, “A Woman’s Face” and “June Night” have received a re-release in the U.S. and that the films look much better than the Fox Lorber DVD’s released nearly a decade ago.

But these films do showcase the actress years before she was known for her role in “Casablanca”, “Spellbound”, “Joan of Arc”, to name a few.  And these roles are not exactly pure and innocent as well.

In “Intermezzo”, Bergman plays the delightful role of Anita Hoffman, up-and-coming concert pianist.  But when Sweden’s most popular musician wants her to be his accompanist and both fall in love, the two try to hide their affair from the musician’s loving family.

Meanwhile, in “A Woman’s Face”, Bergman plays the role of Anna Holm, a woman who has a disfigured face and since then, has has hatred towards humanity because she was looked at as a monster.  So, now she runs a blackmailing ring and her next job…to kill a child so one can inherit the family money?  But with a new surgically repaired face and a new life, can this criminal turn over a new leaf in life?

And for the final film “June Night”, Bergman plays a vamp named Kerstin Norback.  A woman who gave up sex to a man she doesn’t love.  When she tries to leave him, he shoots her.  And now her story has become big news in Sweden and as she tries to start a new life, with a new name, she lives with four other women, some who are having relationship problems.  But what happens when her past comes back to haunt her?

For me, to see these three early Bergman Swedish films was fantastic.  I enjoyed these films and sure, some may enjoy the Hollywood remake of “Intermezzo” and “A Woman’s Face” much more than these original Swedish version of the film but for the sake of having these classic films on DVD is a blessing.  Especially since many box sets dedicated to starlets are now becoming more rare and are becoming DVD on demand.  But in this case, these are Swedish films, not American films, so you’re only choice of obtaining them was the older Fox Lorber DVD’s  or ordering from another country.

So, I really do appreciate Kino International for releasing this DVD box set.  As mentioned, two of the films look much better than its original DVD counterpart but there are no special features on these DVD’s.  If anything, it’s a set to pay tribute to one of the world’s greatest actresses of all time.

While these films may not be her greatest work that she has done, I definitely enjoyed the original “Intermezzo” more than the Hollywood remake and while I enjoyed the Hollywood remake ore of “A Woman’s Face”, for me, it was interesting to see Ingrid Bergman play the role of a criminal and also to see a sleigh chase action scene in the film.  And the same can be said for June Night, it’s a film that required Bergman to share the spotlight with other women but in this case, it wasn’t her most glamorous film but a side of Bergman that audiences rarely get to see.

I wish there were special features included, especially an additional documentary on Ingrid Bergman’s career would have been nice.  But to see a box set release of her three earlier Swedish films, it’s hard to complain.

If you are a big fan of Ingrid Bergman or a fan who wants to experience classic Swedish cinema, I definitely recommend the “Ingrid Bergman in Sweden” DVD Box Set.


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