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Eclipse Series 1: Early Bergman (Torment / Crisis / Port of Call / Thirst / To Joy) (The Criterion Collection) (1963)

Ingmar Bergman  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Eclipse Series 1: Early Bergman (Torment / Crisis / Port of Call / Thirst / To Joy) (The Criterion Collection) + The Ingmar Bergman Trilogy (Through a Glass Darkly / Winter Light / The Silence) (The Criterion Collection) + Ingmar Bergman: Four Masterworks (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: March 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 474 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000M2E3GS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,906 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Eclipse Series 1: Early Bergman (Torment / Crisis / Port of Call / Thirst / To Joy) (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

In Hollywood, falling in love is a happy ending; in Ingmar Bergman movies, love is only the beginning and the ending is always in doubt. But Bergman's reputation for gloom is undeserved; though the five films in Early Bergman have titles like Torment and Crisis, they bristle with life, in all its passion and tenderness (ironically, the bleakest of the lot is titled To Joy). Sadness and whimsy walk hand in hand: As a young woman puts on her lipstick, she draws a frowning face on the mirror; as a husband hears about his wife's death, a small boy turns a toy bear on a stool in the background.

Bergman's career began as a screenwriter with Torment, a noir-ish tale of a volatile student and his sadistic Latin teacher. Stylishly directed by Alf Sjoberg, Torment's script already has Bergman trademarks: Vivid, unpredictable characters, sexual frankness, and a skeptical view of cultural pillars, from romance to honor. Bergman's first directorial venture, Crisis, brings in another prominent element, the subtle yet powerful conflicts among women, as a young girl is torn between her shallow, flamboyant birth mother and the caring but conservative woman who raised her. The tensions between daughter and mother persist in Port of Call, one of the strongest in the set; a rebellious young woman, whose mother sent her to reform school, staves off suicidal impulses by falling in love with a sailor. This brief and depressing-sounding summary doesn't capture the fluid camera movement or the movie's emotional potency, which balances misery with yearning and hope. Thirst demonstrates an increasing narrative sophistication; as it depicts a troubled marriage, the movie plucks multiple storylines like a musician plucking the strings of his instrument. Music itself is a central concern of the last of these five films: To Joy, in which a self-obsessed violinist corrodes his marriage with fear and self-doubt.

There's a startling freshness and vitality to the performances in all of Bergman's films, made all the more striking in contrast to Sjoberg's (though Torment is far from stale). From the beginning, Bergman draws something genuine from his actors, soon developing a visual style that manages to be alluring yet seemingly effortless, never struggling for an arresting image but simply capturing the unexpected jolts of life. The movies in Early Bergman are more raw than his later classics (Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, Fanny & Alexander), but sometimes talent can be most clearly seen in its less polished form. --Bret Fetzer

Product Description

Before The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries established him as one of the great masters of cinema, Ingmar Bergman created a series of less well known, devastating psychological character studies, marked by intricate, layered narratives, gritty environments, and haunting visuals. These early films, which show the stirrings of the genius to come, remain the hidden treasures of a European cinema on the cusp of a golden age. FIVE-DISC

BOX SET FEATURES:

Torment (1944)

In Ingmar Bergman's first produced screenplay, the dark coming-of-age drama Torment, Widgren, a boarding-school senior, is terrorized by his sadistic Latin teacher. When he falls for Bertha, a troubled local girl, he finds himself caught up even further in a web of emotional mind games.

Crisis (1946)

Urban beauty-shop proprietress Miss Jenny arrives in an idyllic rural town one morning to whisk away her eighteen-year-old daughter, Nelly, whom she abandoned as a child, from the loving woman who had raised her. Once in Stockholm, Nelly receives a crash course in adult corruption and wrenching heartbreak.

Port of Call (1948)

Berit, a suicidal young woman living in a working-class port town, unexpectedly falls for Gvsta, a sailor on leave. Haunted by a troubled past and held in a vice grip by her domineering mother, Berit begins to hope that her relationship with Gvsta might save her from her own self-destruction.

Thirst (1949)

A couple traveling across a war-ravaged Europe. A disintegrating marriage. A ballet dancer's scarred past. Her friend's psychological agony. Elliptically told in flashbacks, Thirst shows people enslaved to memory and united in isolation.

To Joy (1949)

An orchestra violinist's dreams of becoming a celebrated soloist and fears of his own mediocrity get in the way of his marriage to the patient, caring Marta. Played out to the music of Beethoven, To Joy is a heartbreaking tale of one man's inability to overcome the demons standing in the way of his happiness


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Addition to an Existing Bergman Collection April 5, 2007
Verified Purchase
Am happy to see that Criterion continues to put out more Bergman as time goes on. This collection includes arguably the best work from his early period and features most often actors Birger Malmstem and Stig Olin, two regulars from this phase in Bergman's career. It is remarkable how versatile these actors are, delivering distinct performances from film to film.

The prints are good, the subtitles removable. Each disc is packaged separately in a plastic case, and there is a concise essay printed on the inside cover for each film. The five cases slide up into the wraparound cover, so this isn't deluxe packaging. No special features, but these films are really intended for the Berman aficionado, who will presumably have seen one or more of them already.

All five films are nicely shot, and two of them (Port of Call and Thirst) are even recommendable to general viewers unaware of Bergman or his corpus. To Joy could just as well have been called To Despair--it is one of the few Bergman films I find truly depressing, with its depiction of a tortuous relationship involving a beautiful and congenial Swedish girl, portrayed by Maj-Britt Nilsson. The other two films, Frenzy and Crisis, besides their visual quality, have historical interest as Bergman's first produced screenplay and directorial effort, respectively.

Not included in this collection of early work are (among other films) The Night Is My Future (1947), which had popular success in its day but is quite conventional, and Prison/The Devil's Wanton (1949), which, while a mature and personal work, might be considered plodding and heavy-handed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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This is an excellent box set of early Bergman works, but after watching all five films I have to conclude that four of them are minor works. Not that they're not interesting, but I recommend the box set above all for THIRST, which is an astounding work. I hadn't seen it before, but after watching it twice now I'm convinced it's Bergman's first masterpiece, introducing many of the themes and techniques he would develop in movies such as THE SILENCE, PERSONA, SHAME, THE PASSION OF ANNA, and SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE. THIRST is not otherwise available on DVD, I think, so the box set is worth getting even if the other films are only ones in which Bergman still hadn't found his way, much less his unique style.

THIRST almost leaps ahead over everything he did in the 50s to connect with what he started doing in the 60s. When he makes THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY in 1961, it seems to me he is picking up where he left off with THIRST. The main character is Rut, played effectively by Eva Henning. She is a ballet dancer whose life and career have gone downhill ever since she had a tragic love affair with a married man who abandoned her, an affair that resulted in an abortion that left her barren and psychologically damaged. She also suffered a knee injury that caused her career to abort. The back story is told in flashback, along with scenes from her dancing school days. The film opens on the last day of her vacation with her husband, Birtil, whom she apparently married on the rebound after her affair with Raoul. The movie opens as they wake up in a shabby hotel room and confront their dissolute life and turbulent marriage. Rut is psychologically dependent on Birtil. She also feels tenderness toward him; she might even love him.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Bergman April 17, 2007
By spock2
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars amazingly curated
first rate collection of Bergman, well packaged and curated. My daughter is getting a great film education. I will enjoy revisiting it when she is finished....
Published 19 months ago by elizabeth Wilde-Biasiny
5.0 out of 5 stars FIVE UNEVEN FILMS MAKE A PERFECT BOX SET
***** 1944-1950. If none of the movies presented here deserves 5 stars, this box set is however essential to whoever is interested in the artistic beginnings of a genius of the... Read more
Published on November 21, 2007 by Daniel S.
4.0 out of 5 stars Eclipse, cinema lovers new lover (a review of the box and Torment)
The new eclipse series by the Criterion Collection is great for bringing cinephiles everywhere the opportunity to see films like this. Read more
Published on June 4, 2007 by DL Nels
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Bergman is worthy of classic Bergman
These films though early works are worthy of the genius of Bergman and in many cases more accessible for the understanding of the classic Bergman themes: man's struggle with the... Read more
Published on May 10, 2007 by FPB
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Start for the Eclipse Series
Judging from this first entry, Criterion's new line, Eclipse, will be serving a valuable function for film buffs by providing high-quality DVD transfers of hard-to-find classic... Read more
Published on April 26, 2007 by Randy Buck
5.0 out of 5 stars Eclipse Series One
One of the more important figures of modern film, a gifted cinematic artist, Ingmar Bergman continued to venture into exciting narrative and thematic areas in his directorial... Read more
Published on March 20, 2007 by Gary Tooze
5.0 out of 5 stars New line from the Criterion Collection!
As a film programmer & movie fan, I'm VERY psyched about the new Eclipse line from the Criterion Collection. What better start than these early titles by Bergman. Read more
Published on December 24, 2006 by Jason Whiton
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