Purchased this box set last week. Here are some impressions. They contain plot descriptions and some spoilers.
TORMENT (1944). The movie focuses on a boarding-school senior, Widgren, who is terrorized by his Latin teacher, and a local shop girl, Bertha, who in different ways, is involved with both men. Widgren is portrayed as a sensitive, caring, idealist. He says he wants to write and play the violin all day. He becomes involved with and falls in love with Bertha, only to be rejected by her later. He tries hard in school, but is scolded by his Latin teacher and unfairly given a demerit and later expelled. He works hard to impress his parents but they only express disappointment in him. He is a good soul who is slowly beaten down by convention and society. He almost folds to the pressure and begins to distance himself from others and life in general, but is saved in a way by a kind professor who understands him. The girl and the Latin teacher both represent tormented people, those who are, for some reason or another, excluded from society, and both meet a tragic end. 3/4 stars.
CRISIS (1946). The movie is told as if it were a play, a drama. There is a narrator who sets the stage in the beginning and speaks once again to end the tale. The movie centers around Nelly, an 18 year old girl raised by a loving women (not her natural mother), who grows up in a small town but dreams of something more for herself. She is pursued by a local gentlemen, Ulff, who is kind, but she does not want to be tied down. When she is given the opportunity to live with her estranged mother and work in a beauty shop in a city, she accepts the invitation. She also becomes involved with a man, Jack, who is a friend of the mothers. Her departure creates a crisis in each of the characters as they are forced in various ways to examine their lives. For some, it leads to growth and acceptance. For others, it is too painful. A decent movie overall. 3/4 stars.
PORT OF CALL (1948). The movie begins with the attempted suicide of a young woman, Berit, who has a troubled past, having spent years in a reformatory and who is now under the watchful eye of her judgemental mother. The young women begins an affair with a sailer, now a dock worker, Gosta, and through him hopes to find the happiness that has eluded her during life. Gosta too has a sense that time is passing by with little to show for it. He has seen much during his many years at sea, but still is alone and unsure of himself. The film has much Bergman philosophy in it, but is pretty conventional in most other respects. However, it is quite touching. In one scene, Berit tells Gosta that if they stay in town, they won't have much. He responds, "But I'll have you and that is a lot." Overall a very solid film. 4/4 stars.
THRIST (1949). The movie focuses on a young women, a ballet dancer, as she and her husband travel across Europe. She is married to a scholar who is fascinated by coins. Their marriage is a rocky one. He is practical. She is not. She drinks often and is depressed that she cannot dance due to a knee injury and cannot bear chuldren. In a series of flashbacks, you see glimpses of her troubled past, an affair with a married man, a botched abortion, and the not so glamarous life as a ballet dancer. The couple at times hate each other but neither can bear to be alone. The dialogue is quite good, but the movie, which jumps around a lot, is not always easy to follow and there are sub stories that do not seem to add much to the main one. 2/4 stars.
TO JOY (1950). The film begins with a violinist in a small orchestra, Stig Ericsson, receiving news of his wife's death, Marta, and continues with a lengthy flashback showing how the couple met and scenes from their mostly unhappy marriage, including an affair. Stig is an ambitious musician whose dreams of becoming a concert sololist but his talent is not quite up to the task. Plagued by mediocrity and lack of accomplishmemnt, he lashes out at those around him, his friends, his conductor, and most of all, his caring wife. In a cruel Bergman twist, it is only when Stig realizes that Marta has been the only positive event in his life, his only source of joy, that she is taken away from him. This is true Bergman cinema. 4/4 stars.