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Sawdust and Tinsel (The Criterion Collection) (1956)

Åke Grönberg , Harriet Andersson , Ingmar Bergman  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Åke Grönberg, Harriet Andersson, Hasse Ekman, Anders Ek, Gudrun Brost
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Full Screen, 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: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: November 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VARC32
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,064 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sawdust and Tinsel (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Ingmar Bergman presents the battle of the sexes as a ramshackle, grotesque carnival in this, one of the late master s most vivid early works. The story of the twisted relationship between a turn-of-the-century traveling circus owner (Ake Grönberg) and his performer girlfriend (Harriet Andersson), Sawdust and Tinsel features dreamlike detours and twisted psychosexual power play that presage the director s Smiles of a Summer Night and The Seventh Seal, works that would soon change the landscape of art cinema forever.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars INGMAR BERGMAN, OPUS 13 December 2, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
**** 1953. Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. A land circus owner comes back to the town he left his wife and his children in, three years before. Criterion presents here the uncut version of this film with scenes absent from the VHS and laserdisc editions of SAWDUST AND TINSEL. Among the bonus features, you'll find an introduction by Ingmar Bergman himself, shot in 2003, as well as a very edifying commentary by film scholar Peter Cowie. The theme of humiliation, sexual, physical or simply psychological, is the main theme of SAWDUST AND TINSEL and the underlying element of its most awesome scenes such as the flashback on the beach which is also an homage to Sergei Eisenstein and to other masters of the silent films period. A movie to watch several times.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caustic, Amazing. It leaves one breathless.... December 16, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
A new generation of Bergman viewers has begun to discover that many of the lesser-known films by the great Swedish director are among his very best, or, one should say, they speak to modern audiences in a more significant way than the "cannonical" Bergman films do. "Winter Light", "Hour of the Wolf", "Shame" and, yes, "Sawdust and Tinsel" are at LEAST as worth-watching as "Seventh Seal", "Cries and Whispers", etc. "Sawdust" is a harrowing film, even by Bergman's standards, and it's not for the faint hearted, but it is one of the most gripping films I have ever seen; it's filled with horror and humiliation (and more raw pain than a dozen other films) but it finally shows a sincere compassion for its characters, an attribute that ultimately makes it a true work of humanistic art.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Sven! January 24, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is one of my favorite early Bergman movies, if not just for the opening clown sequence, which is beautifully photographed. I think this is the first film in which Bergman collaborated with Sven Nykvist, perhaps the greatest film duo to ever come into being. Whether or not the critics loved or hated the film, or when or why they took either opinion, is of course of little consequence. Bergman himself seemed to have liked the film, or at least as much as he indicated in his autobiography: he notes, in particular, the successful blending of dream and reality that he so admired in Tarkovsky and that, he felt, he had failed to create in some of his later more ambitious projects.
A circus owner (Gronberg) arrives in his former hometown after an absence of seven years, when he left behind his wife and his two little boys. He hasn't seen them since, and has taken up a new lover: a young, coquettish, simple-minded girl who performs in his circus (Anderson). When the the circus owner decides to pay a visit to his former family, Anderson becomes intensely jealous, thinking that he is leaving her to return to his family. "Fear becomes what is feared" when, sensing abandonment, Anderson allows herself to be seduced by a young actor. Likewise, thinking that his new lover has run off, Gronberg makes a desperate attempt to reconcile with his family. A morbid and most pathetically depressing emotional climax is reached when all the cards are laid on the table at the circus's performance.
The acting/directing in this movie is Bergman at his finest; a 'spontaneous' (thoroughly coordinated) guttoral instinctiveness is pounded on like an out-of-tune piano chord: the emotional progress of the characters in the film is at once difficult to watch, for its ugliness, and strangely attractive.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an early Bergman classic. March 8, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This review is for the Criterion DVD edition of the film.

Sawdust and Tinsel released in Sweden as "Gycklarnas afton" is about the owner of a travelling circus and his girlfriend.

The film has been described by Criterion as a battle of the sexes film. This could be considered an understatement. This also led to the censors cutting five minutes from the film for the American release. These scenes are included here for the first time in the United States.

The DVD includes two special features. A 2003 introduction to the film by director Ingmar Bergman, and audio commentary by Peter Cowie.

This is mediocre when compared to the later Bergman films but still is one that should be seen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sawdust and Tinsel of the Naked Night January 3, 2007
By Galina
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

Ingmar Bergman's "Gycklarnas Afton" aka "Sawdust and Tinsel aka "The Naked Night" (1953) is a sad tale of passion, jealousy, betrayal, and humiliation set in a shabby traveling circus in the beginning of 20Th century in Sweden. When it was originally released in 1953, the movie met the fierce controversy and misunderstanding from both the critics and the viewers. Even now, more than fifty years later, Bergman remembers what one of the critics said about "Sawdust and Tinsel", "I refuse to make an ocular inspection of Mr. Bergman's latest vomit." The master said that he's always liked the film and it was enough for me to try to find and watch it.

The story itself is not original and has been told many times - it concerns the aging circus owner who fell under the spell of his young and breathtakingly sensual mistress Anna (Harriet Anderson - God Almighty and who would not? If ever any woman could change my sexual orientation, it would've been Anderson of "Dreams", "Smiles of a Summer Night", and "Sawdust and Tinsel". Those dark deep eyes - one minute, the big and naive eyes of a little sweet girl, next second - elongated promising eyes of a natural born seductress, enchantress, and a heart breaker. Her lips, long dark hair, and the body of a dancer and a model make her the embodiment of irresistible femininity.

Filled with the images of exquisite elegance, photographed in striking black and white colors, this study of a love triangle - circus manager loses his mistress to an attractive, young but sadistic actor while trying (without a success) to reconcile with his ex-wife - leads to a powerful and devastating climax. The guns put to one's head may not fire at the end of the naked night but the feelings of despair, hopelessness, and humiliation are overwhelming and not easily shaken.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars This film should be categorized among Bergman's juvenalia, but there...
That life is a circus that one cannot escape from is the overriding theme of Ingmar Bergman's 1953 film GYCKLARNAS AFTON ("The Evening of the Clowns", but released in the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Christopher Culver
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Great Bergman
This 1953 movie is considered by most critics to be the first great movie by Ingmar Bergman-considered by almost eyerybody to be one of the greatest moviemakers ever. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Tony Marquise Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of Bergman's Best
This is ultimately about two very different women, and the struggle of a man to adapt himself romantically to either one. Read more
Published 16 months ago by mr. contrarian
5.0 out of 5 stars LIFE IS SOMETIMES LIKE A CIRCUS OF SAD CLOWNS
There's just something about a circus setting in a movie that fascinates me, especially when it depicts the gypsy-like, carny lifestyle. Read more
Published on April 19, 2012 by Casey62
4.0 out of 5 stars Even mid-level Bergman is well worth seeing.
Less beloved by many critics than much of Bergman's best known work and
I can understand why. The overly melodramatic main story of love and
betrayal in a small-time... Read more
Published on April 12, 2012 by K. Gordon
4.0 out of 5 stars Even mid-level Bergman is well worth seeing.
Less beloved by many critics than much of Bergman's best known work and
I can understand why. The overly melodramatic main story of love and
betrayal in a small-time... Read more
Published on April 12, 2012 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars A Minor Masterpiece from Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman's 1953 film Sawdust and Tinsel is a film rarely mentioned in discussions of the director's greatest works. Read more
Published on April 6, 2011 by Joshua Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Carnival of souls
This early Bergman film is the potent visual seed from which all his later (greater) films grow.To see it, is to see them before they had been articulated and flowered. Read more
Published on April 27, 2010 by technoguy
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a Fanny & Alexander
The photography & direction are excellent. The female characters are credible, but the men are not truly lifelike. Read more
Published on December 16, 2008 by From Elder
5.0 out of 5 stars "I want out of the circus!"
Even in interviews years after "Sawdust and Tinsel" appeared, it's clear that Bergman was still irked by the charge that his film was "vomit. Read more
Published on August 8, 2008 by Kerry Walters
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