After fifteen films that received mostly local acclaim, the 1955 comedy Smiles of a Summer Night (Sommarnattens leende) at last ushered in an international audience for Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries). In turn-of-the-century Sweden, four men and four women of different classes attempt to navigate the laws of attraction. During a weekend in the country, the women collude to force the men’s hands in matters of the heart, exposing their pretensions and insecurities along the way. Chock-full of flirtatious propositions and sharp witticisms delivered by such Swedish screen legends as Gunnar Björnstrand (The Seventh Seal, Winter Light) and Harriet Andersson (Through a Glass Darkly, Cries and Whispers), Smiles of a Summer Night is one of cinema’s great erotic comedies.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• Digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Video introduction to the film by director Ingmar Bergman
• Video conversation between Bergman scholar Peter Cowie and writer Jörn Donner, executive producer of Fanny and Alexander
• Original theatrical trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by theater and film critic John Simon and a 1961 review by film critic Pauline Kael
Ingmar Bergman achieved international stardom with this classic melancholy comedy about the romantic entanglements of three 19th-century couples during a weekend at a country estate. It's exactly what you'd expect from a bedroom farce filtered through the ideas and eyes of Bergman: sharp, serious, pensive, austerely sexy, and ultimately sobering. Still, anyone who thought the Swedish filmmaker was incapable of a little fun has only to watch Bergman's orchestrations of these dangerous liaisons. Prosperous lawyer Fredrik (Gunnar Björnstrand) is married to the comely young Anne (Ulla Jacobsson), who (despite his best efforts) remains a virgin. Henrik (Björn Bjelfvenstam), Fredrik's grown son from a previous marriage, is desperately in love with Anne--and having an affair with the maid (Harriet Andersson)--despite the torturings of his pious soul. When actress Desiree (Eva Dahlbeck), Fredrik's former mistress, breezes into town, Fredrick pays her a visit, only to find himself jealous of her relationship with the piggish Count Malcolm (Jarl Kulle), who just happens to be married to Anne's best friend, the depressed and suicidal Charlotte (Margit Carlqvist); both women have a decided bone to pick with Desiree. All convene at the estate of Desiree's mother for a weekend of confrontations, illicit romance, dinner, dueling, and eventual pairing with the right romantic partner. Bergman winningly conveys the aspects of love among both the young and the old--those who feel they'll live forever and those whose impending mortality colors their actions. Absolutely brilliant and heartfelt, a true cinematic masterpiece. The basis for Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music
, of "Send in the Clowns" fame. --Mark Englehart
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.