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Smiles of a Summer Night (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1955)

Ulla Jacobsson , Eva Dahlbeck , Ingmar Bergman  |  Unrated |  Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Smiles of a Summer Night (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Summer with Monika (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + The Magician (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson, Margit Carlquist, Gunnar Bjornstrand
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: May 3, 2011
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004NWPY3Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,321 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special 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


Editorial Reviews

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If you're a fan of Bergman's works about psychological abuse, personal disaster and disintegrating relationships, this film is definitely not for you. But it reaches a hand across to his late work, sharing a kind of sunlit-but-shadowed atmosphere that's both in the physical environment, and in the people he displays. Less stiff than Bergman's other early attempts at humor (The Devil's Stye, for example), the storyline is engaging, the characters interesting and all-too-human; and the outdoors scenes really bring some life to a director who was all too easily stagebound. There are few outright laughs in this film, but a great many smiles and a warm willingness to embrace humanity with all its flaws.
Definitely a film to treasure, and one that bears repeated viewing. I'd put it fairly close to Wild Strawberries and The Seventh Seal for its success at creating a film with a unique tone and attitude, in which all the parts contribute magnificently to the whole.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Donato
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I came to Ingmar Bergman films in the mid-sixties, as a teen, and liked them because they seemed so stark, so unlike the typical Hollywood fluff. They called 'em art films, but I liked Bergman because of the characters and the stories, not to mention the look and feel of his films. It was only when Criterion Collection released SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT this year that I finally got to see a film I had heard a lot about but never bothered to seek out. Criterion's other Bergman films were all must-haves so I ordered Smiles right away. (I have seen Sondheim's A Little Night Music on stage some three times and saw the film, so I suppose this Bergman source film seemed less unknown than his others. And, by the way, after seeing Smiles, I appreciate even more how nicely Sondheim et al adapted this film.) True to Criterion's high standards and TLC in presenting its films, Smiles looks as good as it must have when it was released almost fifty years ago. This light comedy involves several pairs of lovers who, for a variety of reasons, might be better off if the deck were shuffled and they ended up in another pairing. Aging actress, married lover; aging lawyer, too-young virgin wife; tortured soul son of lawyer, saucy maid temptress, and lawyer's too-young virgin wife; wife of military man who knows husband has mistresses, including the aging actress. Shuffle the deck a few times and a lot can happen in a movie with characters such as these. Sondheim wrote the entire score to A Little Night Music in waltz tempo, which perfectly captures the whirling intricacies of the relationships. Bergman started it all with a very entertaining and perfectly cast film, full of both comedy and the human dimension of mismatched people who may be investing too much energy in the wrong person. Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Send In The Clowns December 17, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This was director Ingmar Bergman's break-through film, the winner of the 1956 Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, the first of his many internationally acclaimed films. The story is a time honored one, referrencing the same tradition of romantic complications found in Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM and Rostand's LA RONDE: every one is either in love with or married to the wrong person.
A famous actress with two very different lovers invites both, their wives, and the son of one lover to her mother's country estate in the hope of sorting out the romantic entanglements to her satisfaction--and the result is considerable charm and unexpectedly dry wit. All the performances are excellent, with Eva Dahlbeck's Desiree a standout, but the real star of this ensemble piece is the unexpectedly witty script. Never quite veering over into broad farce but never sinking into romantic sentimentality, it is a very precisely written tale, and both cast and director make the most of it.
In the face of Bergman's later work, SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT may seem rather slight, and indeed both psychology and cinematography is considerably less complex than one expects. Even so, it is very much a Bergman film: the visual style is distinct, and the themes of appearances vs. reality, the inability to correctly interpret another's behavior, and the failure to understand one's self are very much in evidence--only here to comic effect. It is in every way a charming film that Bergman fans will enjoy.
Incidently, SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT was successfully translated to the stage as the musical A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, the score of which includes the famous "Send In The Clowns." Fans of the original film will be interested to compare the two works.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eternal Smile, June 15, 2006
By Galina
Format:DVD
"Smiles of a Summer Night" is one of the most elegant and charming carnal comedies ever filmed. It is clever, witty, and incredibly sexy. Did I mention that it was written and directed by The Ingmar Bergman whose name would not usually be associated with the comedies?

"Smiles of a Summer Night" was a great success with both the critics and the audiences and was submitted for the Cannes film festival...without its creator's knowledge. The film was nominated for the Golden Palm and won the Award for Best Poetic Humor. Bergman describes how he found out about his movie's international recognition, "I was sitting on the toilet reading a morning newspaper. One of the articles was entitled, The Great Victory for a Swedish Cinema at Cannes. I thought, what a wonderful news, what is the movie? And then I read the title, "Smiles of a Summer Night" by Ingmar Bergman." He recalls how poor he was then and he borrowed the money for a ticket to Cannes from Bibi Anderson whom he dated at the time.

I did not laugh a lot but I don't think I was supposed to - "Smiles... is a different kind of comedy, sensual and subtle, with the characters often weak but not ridiculous. The beauty of it is in the dialogs, ironic looks, the charming struggle of wits, and in the realization that not everyone will be blessed with the true and passionate love but the life goes on, anyway. The actresses (Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson, and Margit Carlqvist) were incredibly sexy, especially Eva Dahlbeck smoking a cigar and Harriett Andersson as a chambermaid talking to her mistress about the virginity - delightful!

There are no words to describe the beauty, splendor, charm, humor, and sensuality of this film. The best I can do - to paraphrase Woody Allen's line -"that was the most fun I've ever had without sex."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant film and a wonderful buying experience.
Published 21 days ago by Timothy L. Constant
5.0 out of 5 stars An Upside-Down Heart
This 1955 sex farce is a classic that put Swedish director Ingmar Bergman on the map.
Frequently compared to Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and the inspiration... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Deborah Earle
5.0 out of 5 stars A MAGICAL FILM
Bergman, Ingmar. Smiles of a Summer Night. (1955) The Criterion Collection.
Gunnar Bjornstrand, Eva Dahlbeck, Ulla Jacobsson, Harriet Andersson, etc. Read more
Published 16 months ago by David Keymer
3.0 out of 5 stars Wickedly Clever
skewering of rich Europeans in the late 1800's. Most have and/or will cheat on their spouses. For these rich, adultery seemed such a common occurence that elaborate schemes had... Read more
Published 21 months ago by mr. contrarian
5.0 out of 5 stars Most entertaining indeed....
Very good film using the type of subtle comedy that Bergman used in The Magician and The Seventh Seal, only this time there is more of it.... Read more
Published on September 9, 2012 by Dr. Morbius
4.0 out of 5 stars Begman comedy? Bergman light?
This is a fun, beautifully filmed movie. It's not a side-splitting comedy--it's an Ignmar Bergman comedy, so you will get a healthy dose of pathos, existential philosophy, and you... Read more
Published on September 9, 2012 by Sara Q.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bergman Comedy?
Comedy is not the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of an Ingmar Bergman film, yet Smiles Of A Summer Night is one of world cinema's most joyous odes to romantic love. Read more
Published on July 27, 2012 by Harry O
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, good hearted, often funny sex-farce
A bunch of upper class folk spend a weekend together at a country
house. Lots of bed hopping, betrayal, male macho posturing, and female
manipulation ensues. Read more
Published on April 14, 2012 by K. Gordon
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, good hearted, often funny sex-farce
A bunch of upper class folk spend a weekend together at a country
house. Lots of bed hopping, betrayal, male macho posturing, and female
manipulation ensues. Read more
Published on April 14, 2012 by K. Gordon
3.0 out of 5 stars Say what?
The English subtitles do not work, despite repeated efforts. It is a good thing the Blue Ray came with a booklet explaining the plot.
Published on January 24, 2012 by Sharey
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