Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Various Roles of Ingrid Bergman

The various roles of Ingrid Bergman is going to reference the roles she played in film, not in her real life... I'll save the wife, gf, mother, actress, grandmother, etc. for another entry!

Ingrid Bergman avoided stereotypes as much as possible. She played roles that ranged from bar wench to nun and from estranged mother to devoted spinster. Her diversity and range were just part of her greatness... I would like to celebrate her range with a pictorial of her parts. I will also comment on some! ;)

In The Count of the Old Town, Ingrid plays a hotel keeper and love interest of a robber. This outfit is now in the Swedish Museum of film history. This was her first break out role in Sweden.


The role that Ingrid took in En Kvinnas ansikte a.k.a. A Woman's Face, was one that she had to fight for. Her make up was a mixture of make up, a brace (her husband Petter Lindstrom constructed) and glue to make the side of her face distorted. She signed for more "pretty" films in order to fulfill this part. The movie is amazing and I recommend it to any Ingrid fan. She goes from disfigured, bitter and ruined to a beautiful, content woman making a new start.

In both the Swedish and U.S. versions of Intermezzo: A Love Story, Ingrid plays a young woman who is swept into an affair with a married composer/violinist. She starts as a naive piano teacher who just wants to experience the impulsive side of life to a wiser student of music and the world. These movies rock! They show footage of Ingrid playing the piano (though she was an accomplished player and her fingering is correct, they used a recorded playing.) and this is her American debut!

In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Ingrid was originally cast as Dr. Jekyll's girl friend, but she worked her way into getting the part of Ivy, the bar maid at a tavern who is taken by Mr. Hyde, abused (verbally, physically and [assumed] sexually) and eventually killed. This part required her to sing, laugh, dance, and transform into a hurt simple character who is frightened and distraught.

In probably her most recognizable film, Casablanca, Ingrid is a woman torn between the love of her past and the love of her future. She is all over the charts emotionally in this film and shows off her acting chops. She really could make or break the world in this picture. For as famous as this film is, it was not Ingrid's favorite to make nor really in general.
Ingrid changed her role so quickly for For Whom The Bell Tolls, that they couldn't reshoot any scenes for Casablanca. She cut her hair short, she wore darker makeup and was a shamed Spanish girl named Maria. This character had to be tough, scrappy and romantic, quite a feat for the blonde Swede. She wanted very badly to play this part, and it was somewhat of a box office disappointment (did not live up to the book at all), though the hair cut caught on amongst U.S. women at this time.

In The Bells of St. Mary's, Ingrid plays Sister Bendedict, a tom boyish, lovable, stern teacher opposite the joy filled, rebellous Father O'Malley played by Bing Crosby. This character is playful at times, like when she's teaching a young boy how to box or playing baseball with the little girls of the school. She is manipulative with the man from whom she wants to obtain a building to keep her school alive. She is caring when it comes to a lost girl named Patricia as well as the children she cares for. She is stern when it comes to academia as well as the rules and knows her responsibilities. And she is sickly and sad at points when she is unsure of her role as well as when she finds that she has TB. This role is complicated for a comedy and I think it is probably the role that haunted her the most when she went to Italy and was leaving only this image in the brains of Americans. Could she help it that she's so good?

In 1944's remake of Gaslight, she portrays Paula, a young woman whose aunt has been murdered 10 years before the action. Paula and her new husband move back to the house, in London, where the murder was committed and strange happenings occure. In this film it is indistinguishable whether or not Paul is crazy until the very end. Ingrid won her first Academy Award for this part and rightly so. Directed by George Cukor, costarring Charles Boyer, A MUST see.

Ingrid's character in Spellbound is probably my favorite as far as physical transformations are concerned. This character goes from bold beauty to book worm with one simple accessory, glasses! This movie involves a character who is cold, nerdy, professional and sexually suppressed and who transforms with love at first sight. The character holds a lot of information and is released into a world of sex and love. Though it wouldn't seem so at first, it is a very complex and most likely difficult character to play.

Notorious is my favorite character: Alicia Huberman. Alicia is a bad girl gone good. She is virtually prostituted for the greater good and falls hard for her dream man. As she gives herself to the will of the governement she becomes parted from her lover, T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant), and she is poisoned by her Nazi husband. The film is my favorite Ingrid Bergman film and my favorite film of all time. If you would like to read more about my character analysis and general love of this flick, go here: Notorious--It's my Favorite

In 1946 Ingrid played Joan of Arc on the stage, she then made a film in 1948 titled and then when she was over seas with Rossellini, they produced and she starred in another Joan play. Joan of Arc was Ingrid's hero and favorite person in history. She collected Joan of Arc metals when she was young and it was her role. This is what I'll use to skim through these years of her life... there are many more roles during this time and even earlier that I didn't get to cover, but if you go here, you can find them!

In Anastasia, Ingrid plays a princess who is brought from the streets of Russia to the palaces of Russia. She is completely lost in the beginning, disheveled and has been homeless/in an asylum for years. She is then brought into a challenge to find the real princess and transforms into a beautiful creature worthy of the crown. This part is heavy with emotions. Ingrid is very mousy at first and scared, she then blossoms into a woman who isn't afraid to down a couple of glasses of champagne and dance around a room with a man.

The Inn of Sixth Happiness is a film in which Ingrid plays a missionary who is devoted to saving the children and future of China. She is a down to earth woman in England who has to become worldly and change into a down to earth woman in China. She is brave and doting. A definite change from the Romanov film before it.


(I <3 style="font-style: italic;">so funny and the cast is amazing. Ingrid gets her groove on with Goldie Hawn in a dancing scene and the script is very well written (adapted really).

Here's a link to see the dancing sequence... you can also watch it instantly on netflix!! :)

Ingrid played the part of a rich countess in Vincent Minnelli's A Matter of Time. She wore a ton of makeup, a white wig and really made herself old for the part. She had both of her daughters work on the set. Ingrid Isotta worked in makeup and Isabella had a small role as a nun who comes to care for the old woman. Toward the end of her life, Ingrid was never afraid, in fact encouraged, looking older with tons of make up or leaving off makeup to look a different kind of old.

Another Academy Award was won due to her supporting role in Murder on the Orient Express. She played a Swedish nurse in this film and her speech in the film is fantastic. She goes into a Swedish accent as if she cannot translate her language and is very frail and broken. Though she didn't feel she deserved the award that year, I think she won it with no questions involved.

The last film I will discuss is Ingrid's last big screen film, Autumn Sonata. This film was made in Swedish by the great Ingmar Bergman (no relation) and also starred Liv Ullman. This film, I feel, is Ingrid's apology and reconciling for the way she raised her children. I don't think she needed to do this necessarily, but she did and it's beautiful. The part is an estranged mother who will do anything for her career and neglects the traditional roles of wife and mother. The film is dubbed in Englsih and was all in Swedish. She looks beautiful even though she has cancer in real life (during the shooting) and leaves off makeup. If you can find this film online, it's worth buying. Swedish films really need to be more readily available.

There are many other parts that Ingrid played. If you would like any addressed, I can, just let me know. She has so many different roles that it goes beyond this blog to prove it and really doesn't need to be proven at all.
How you like dem apples?
Tack.

1 comment:

Lolita said...

The Autumn Sonata was dubbed?!?! Blasphemy! On no. Why not have intertitles instead? Things like this makes me sad.

Great post! I really like your blog.

About Me

My photo
An avid Ingrid Bergman fan, I am a student of her life and work as well as film, filmmaking and Classic Film in general. I have my M.F.A. in TV/Film Production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and have been making a living in the business they call show. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @alexis_morrell