Intermezzo (1936)

Intermezzo (1936)

“Is it a crime to realize I can’t live without you?”

An aspiring pianist (Ingrid Bergman) falls in love with the violinist-father (Gosta Ekman) of one of her pupils (Britt Hagman), eventually causing the break-up of Ekman’s marriage to his long-suffering wife (Inga Tidblad).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Ingrid Bergman Films
  • Musicians
  • Scandinavian Films
  • Star-Crossed Lovers

21-year-old Ingrid Bergman is positively luminous in this Swedish romantic melodrama, known for causing Hollywood (David Selznick in particular) to take notice of Bergman’s charms and woo her across the ocean (where she soon starred in a nearly identical English-language remake). The storyline itself is simplistic and (mostly) predictable, with all key players interacting oh-so-tastefully with one another as they voice hoary dialogue (“A human being feels this happiness only once in their life”) while passionate classical music plays in the background. The movie is primarily of interest to film fanatics due to Bergman’s presence: it’s instantly clear why she was considered a cinematic gem worth cultivating. Åke Dahlqvist’s cinematography highlights her considerable beauty and vitality, making this a visually pleasant if overly genteel film to sit through.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Ingrid Bergman as Anita
  • Fine cinematography

Must See?
No; this one will only be of interest to diehard Bergman fans (who will likely feel rewarded by a viewing). Listed as a film with Historical value in the back of Peary’s book.


One thought on “Intermezzo (1936)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see – but, no doubt, fans of Ingrid Bergman will be curious to see the film that was her ticket to Hollywood.

    Time has not been kind to this film at all – it’s little more than an overwrought romance melodrama and, at just over 90 minutes, it feels much longer (that’s never a plus).

    Particularly damaging is the amount of sappy, ‘love stuff’ dialogue that the leads engage in. In the earlier days of cinema, dialogue between lovers was often something of a problem since it tended to be overdone with flowery sentiment. That tendency would later rear its ‘ugly head’ as well, with films like Sirk’s ‘Magnificent Obsession’ (1954) and Hiller’s ‘Love Story’ (1970).

    I’m sure it’s very challenging writing scenes between people in love. I’ve always preferred such scenes using such emotion in a more indirect way – oh, for example, like what we get in ‘Bringing Up Baby’. 😉

    Bergman is indeed “luminous” here but she can’t really save the film – not with what she’s asked to speak and how she has been encouraged to be ‘dramatic’.

    There are moments when this film gets a bit close to being unintentionally funny – and some of the heightened drama for the sake of drama (esp. near the end) gets to be a bit much.

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