“I want to get out. I want to get out. I want to get out!”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
It’s impossible to see this marriage-of-convenience going in a positive direction — though surprisingly enough, Vitale is a mostly decent guy who simply wants to live a quiet life with Bergman on his island, and it’s Bergman who reveals herself to be a classist prig:
When she tells Vitale, “I’m different. I’m very different from you. I belong to another class” (and maintains he’ll never earn enough money to deserve her), we struggle to maintain our compassion for her plight. Sure, it’s ridiculous to see local villagers criticizing Bergman for being so artistic and independent, but this is their home town, after all — she’s the newcomer.
The bulk of the film consists of Bergman simply wandering the island and trying to pass the days, including accompanying her husband and other men on an energetic fishing trip:
… and appealing to a kind local priest (Renzo Cesana) for help, confessing her “sinful” past and even seeming to awkwardly come on to him at one point.
Clearly, there isn’t much room for anything to happen in this loosely improvised storyline other than for Bergman and Vitale to acknowledge they’re not compatible — but getting Bergman off the island turns out to be an insurmountable challenge, given lack of funds and the presence of a pesky active volcano.
It was interesting reading the following anecdote in TCM’s article:
Poor Bergman — and yet, she invited herself into the situation by writing a fan letter to Rossellini and offering her acting services to him. The rest, as film lovers know, is cinematic and romantic history, with the couple making three children and five more films together — including Voyage to Italy (1954).
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments: