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Hedda Gabler (1962)

17 customer reviews

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Product Description

Hedda Gabler (1962) (DVD)

This 1962 production of Ibsen's immortal classic features Ingrid Bergman in the title role! Hedda Gabler has just come back from her honeymoon, married to boring but reliable academic George Tesman (Michael Redgrave). Refusing to tie herself down in life and name, Hedda is banking on George being appointed a professorship to secure a better life for the young couple. However, the arrival of cleaned up ex-lover Eilert threatens to destroy everything. Included is the bonus play, The Lady from the Sea starring Eile Atkins and Denholm Elliott.

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In one of the great dramatic roles in all of theater, the always magnificent Ingrid Bergman seethes with frustrated ambition. Hedda Gabler is a woman who, for financial security, has married an earnest and dutiful academic who lacks the passion and imagination that drive Hedda. When Eilert Lovborg (Trevor Howard, The Third Man), a former lover, returns to their city, she discovers that a new woman has rescued him from his alcoholism and given him the strength to write a brilliant book. Consumed with jealousy, Hedda seizes an opportunity to ruin Lovborg's life--and by doing so, places herself in the power of the glib and predatory Judge Brack (Ralph Richardson, The Fallen Idol), who longs to have his way with her. This 1963 British television version of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler is skillfully condensed into a taut 75 minutes, fantastically played by the superb cast (which also includes Michael Redgrave, The Importance of Being Earnest). Bergman and Richardson, in particular, draw out every drop of hidden resentment and lust. Accompanying Hedda Gabler is a 1974 adaptation of Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea, in which a mysterious man from the past threatens the marriage of an older doctor (Denholm Elliott, Raiders of the Lost Ark) and a younger woman (Eileen Atkins, Cold Comfort Farm). This solid production feels a bit stagey and the script could have been better edited for television, but it does capture the metaphysical chill of the stranger's presence and the drama of the young woman's craving for personal freedom. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

Other: Bonus play: The Lady from the Sea (86')

Product Details

  • Actors: Ingrid Bergman, Michael Redgrave, Ralph Richardson, Trevor Howard, Dilys Hamlett
  • Directors: Basil Coleman
  • Writers: Henrik Ibsen, Michael Meyer, Philip H. Reisman Jr.
  • Producers: Cedric Messina
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000PAAK64
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,774 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hedda Gabler (1962)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Promise on September 6, 2007
It's been so long since I read the play that I can't compare this production, which another reviewer called "truncated," to the original. This is short but the collection of some of the finest actors in England plus Ingrid Bergman in her prime, make this a powerful performance. Ms. Bergman dominates every scene with her amazing presence. I had forgotten what a great actress she was. And, she is absolutely beautiful here. We are fortunate to have this on record.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Stanley H. Nemeth on August 5, 2007
This truncated adaptation of one of Ibsen's masterpieces does less than full justice to the elegant, classical dramatic architecture that distinguishes the craftsmanship of the original text. Moreover, as if to add insult to injury, additional scenes and new dialogue of matter merely narrated in the original are added here as unnecessary filler. For this reason, the production deserves less than 5 stars.

These limitations having been pointed out, what is nevertheless remarkable is the undeniable success of the extraordinary cast assembled here in conveying within a mere 75 minutes the essence of Ibsen's drama. Michael Redgrave, for instance, as the bumbling, foolish George Tesman is a scholar in the mode Nietzsche parodied and Ibsen similarly saw the folly of. Tesman is the sort of 19th century academic new man who believes one approaches a better conception of the real and the important by peering ever more closely at the domestic industries of Brabant in the Middle Ages. At the same time, inattentive to what's going on before his eyes, he's spectacularly unfit as a husband or a colleague. Ralph Richardson, in the reduced number of lines that remain to him, is a singularly reptilian, sophisticated Judge Brack, a true rival in at first witty and then sinister repartee to the aristocrat who's come down in the world, Hedda Gabler.

Ibsen once said that modern man is "a neurotic sufferer," and the principal exponent of such a conception of dramatic character here is, of course, Hedda herself. Ingrid Bergman plays this very character to the hilt. Spoiled, witty, above all bored to tears, she is cunning, manipulative, and finally at her wit's end. Great facial acting and caustic wit distinguish Bergman's Hedda. Her face is a book in which the audience, if not always the other characters, may read her thoughts. And she brings out the humor that is always in Ibsen. Her performance, even in truncated form, is in itself worth 6 stars.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By dreamer on July 30, 2007
Verified Purchase
ingred bergman as hedda,i've waited 40 yrs for this and i'm not disapointed,bergman,redgrave,richardson,howard can you ask for anything better,a 5 star production...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ann M. Carp on May 31, 2009
Verified Purchase
If you appreciate the works of Henrik Ibsen , you will certainely enjoy this BBC's production of this tragic masterpiece. Ingrid Bergman who plays Hedda steals the show as always. She is the greatest actress of all time; of course, my opinion. Back from her honeymoon after marrying an older rather dull academic man, she tries to keep herself from becoming the typical married lady. She unfortunately was born in the wrong century. However, her life becomes more intrigueing T when her x-lover enters the stage & threatens to ruin her sedate life. The ending is quite a shocking surprise. This dramatic play is not for all.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on January 15, 2009
Much as I hate to admit it, the insufferable Stanley N has said most of what I planned to say about this cinema adaptation of Ibsen's most popular drama. Yes, Ingrid Bergman is exquisite on screen, her close-ups being worth at least the few hundred words that have been cut from the script. Yes, the rest of the cast is worthy of sharing the screen with her. Yes, this would be a powerful psychological film even if it had somehow been crafted by Hollywood hacks. One thing Mr. N fails to mention is the visual beauty of the film, all the action being contained within the parlor and the porch of the Gabler mansion as if on a stage, yet with very fluid camera work worthy of that other Swede named Bergman.

This film is available as part of the six-DVD, ten production Ibsen Collection from the BBC, which I've been carrying in my suitcase while on the road for a month. So far I've watched three plays: this Hedda Gabler made in 1963, An Enemy of the People, and Little Eyolf.

"Enemy" has been curiously adapted, relocated in Scotland several decades later in time than the original; it's an intellectually shallow interpretation but a fairly strong piece of cinema on its own, well acted and directed.

"Little Eyolf" is utterly faithful to the mood and content of Ibsen's drama; starring Anthony Hopkins and Diana Riggs, it has none of the stilted wordiness of Ibsen translations on stage even though it delivers the whole script without noticeable cuts. Again the visuals are evocative, graceful, and fluid. How I'd love to see the movie industry re-learn the art of editing more than five-second cuts!

The filmed plays also include: Brand, A Doll's House, Ghosts, The Wild Duck, The Lady from the Sea, and The Master Builder.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel A Goldman on February 17, 2014
This is a great cast, and all of them do a great job. This is the first time I saw Hedda Gabler, so I can't comment whether this is truncated or not. All I know is that this is great drama. There is great insight into character and into the world of Henrik Ibsen.

Ingrid Bergman is the manipulative but unfortunate Hedda Gabler. Hedda Gabler's character is complex, subject to several interpretations. You will have to watch the film or read the play, and come to your own conclusions. Bergman's facial expressions and beauty in this movie are amazing.

Michael Redgrave is the bumbling and naive academic George Tesman who somehow ends up married to Hedda, as her options for the future narrow. He little understands Hedda's complex inner nature. He spends much of the time on his honeymoon in his obscure research concerning household industries from Brabant of centuries past. Unaware of all the scheming and sub-plots going on in his household, he blithely moves forward with his vacuous academic pursuits.

Ralph Richardson is very convincing as the diabolical Judge Brack, in love with Hedda and scheming to have his desires fulfilled. While George is in the kitchen just yards away in conversation concerning his obscure research, Judge Brack casts his wiles to entangle Hedda.

Two less important characters round out the play. Eilert Lovborg is an academic rival of George and former lover of Hedda, whose appearance in the play sets events into motion. Thea Elvsted is the insecure, unhappily married former classmate of Hedda's, who has inspired Lovborg to stop drinking and write a masterpiece. Hedda seems to easily manipulate both Eilert and Thea, and even destroys Eilert's manuscript.
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