Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh Hay Ingrid!

Since creating the Ingrid Bergman blog, I have gone through a great number of photographs and pictures of Ingrid, moreso than when I was simply just looking at our hero. I have also read many books about Ingrid, her work, and life. The reading and visuals have provided me with topics for conversation, questions about who she really was and have given me a gateway to an intricate web of tales of fact, fiction and opinion. 
I would like to address a type of photo that really stands out in my view of Ingrid Bergman's life. There are many pictures of Ingrid holding hay, sitting on or next to farm equipment, and acting like a "Swedish milk-maid" or "the girl next door." Based on things I've read about her early career as well as interviews held with Ingrid, it makes sense that they marketed her this way. She didn't want to do the same nip/tuck thing all the other stars were doing, so they decided to promote her as "natural" and "innocent." Due to the events following her early career, the "Rossellini period," if you will, these pictures stand out. 
I feel like the studios, photographs and films from Ingrid's early years in America, set her up as an idealistic figure that no one, including Ingrid, could ever fully achieve. Though not all of her characters were so innocent, they were often victims, as most female characters of the time are, if they are not a femme fatale (which we all know what happens to them...whawh-whawh.). Ingrid's timing of her career and "scandal" were historically a bombshell. The times were all about ideals, conformity, patriotism, Christian based morality, communism, international relations and maintaining neutrality, as well as remaining in one's set gender roles: especially if one were in the limelight as well as a wife and mother. 
Ingrid always did what she wanted; I like that.
Her "saint-like" appeal to Americans and their devotion to her really backfired when she went on a new artistic and romantic endeavour. It was not her firest liaison with an extramarital affair but because Americans saw her as Sister Bendidict, it did not go over well.

I think the pictures of Ingrid with hay are beautiful and of course they wanted to promote her as much as possible, but with her story, they set her up for unavoidable disaster.

Here are the now almost literal bomb shell pictures:


Lolita said...

Really beautiful photos, and a great post!

Emily said...

The first phrase that comes to my mind is 'build her up just to break her down', but I know it isn't truly the case with Ingrid. They didn't do it JUST to break her down, years later...
I suppose the reaction to her affair/pregnancy was a testament to how outstanding she was in her acting in those saintly roles, as well as to the power of the studio system which had build up that wholesome image for her.
And those are great pics! I hadn't seen some of them! thanks :)

About Me

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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