Indiscreet (1958)

“There is no sincerity like a woman telling a lie.”

Synopsis:
A successful actress (Ingrid Bergman) falls in love with an unhappily married diplomat (Cary Grant) who can’t divorce his wife; their passionate affair gets more complicated, however, when a disturbing secret is revealed.

Genres:

Review:
Twelve years after they co-starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (1946), Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman reappeared as screen lovers in Stanley Donen’s adaptation of Norman Krasna’s short-lived Broadway play Kind Sir; unfortunately, while both Grant and Bergman still possess potent chemistry together, the material here isn’t quite worth their talents or energy. The entire first hour of the film is concerned simply with showing their romantic courtship and “steamy” affair, complete with a cleverly filmed split-screen bedroom sequence (which predates the more infamous split-screen “bathroom sequence” in Pillow Talk by a full year). This all turns out to be an elaborate build-up to a substantial plot twist (don’t read about the film online if you wish to remain surprised) — but viewers may well find themselves impatient long before this point, and wondering where exactly things are going; the pacing feels off. While the twist itself adds some much-needed energy and punch to the proceedings, it never registers as anything other than a narrative device; meanwhile, the stagy denouement is both rushed and unrealistic. With that said, the film itself is consistently gorgeous to look at, from Freddie Young’s vibrant cinematography to visually innovative set designs (check out the still below of Bergman’s living room!) to the array of fashionable Christian Dior outfits Bergman is attired in — so at the very least, it provides pleasant eye candy throughout.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Ingrid Bergman as Ann
  • Cary Grant as Philip
  • The innovative split-screen bedroom scene
  • Excellent set designs
  • Lovely Dior outfits

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended for fans of Bergman and/or Grant.

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One Response to “Indiscreet (1958)”

  1. Not a must!

    First (and probably last) viewing.

    Handsomely produced and a crashing bore.

    Norman Krasna is not a writer without talent (whether for the screen or the theater). But this screenplay of his own play reveals that, as a Broadway play, it was on some level designed to please that section of the audience referred to as “the blue-haired ladies”. Bergman and Grant portray two persons of means who fall in love and blah-blah-blah-zzzzzzzzzzzzz. We spend half the flick thinking, “Just get a room – and come out if you have an idea for a story!” In the latter half, Bergman – feeling she’s “a wronged woman” – decides to turn into a bitch when there could be a better – far more sophisticated and perhaps even entertaining – solution to her ‘dilemma’. ~not that any of this is of any consequence.

    Nothing is helped by Richard Bennett’s annoying score.

    Grant is quoted as saying this is his favorite among his films. Huh???

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