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Summer with Monika (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

36 customer reviews

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(May 29, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Inspired by the earthy eroticism of his muse Harriet Andersson (Through a Glass Darkly), in the first of her many roles for him, Ingmar Bergman (Wild Strawberries) had a major international breakthrough with this ravaging, sensual tale of young love. In Stockholm, a girl (Andersson) and boy (The Magician's Lars Ekborg) from working-class families run away from home to spend a secluded, romantic summer at the beach, far from parents and responsibilities. Inevitably, it is not long before the pair is forced to return to reality. The version originally released in the U.S. was reedited by its distributor into something more salacious, but the original Summer with Monika, as presented here, is a work of stunning maturity and one of Bergman's most important films.

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Introduction by director Ingmar Bergman
  • New interview with actress Harriet Andersson, conducted by film critic Peter Cowie
  • New interview with film scholar Eric Schaefer about Kroger Babb and Babb’s distribution of Monika: Story of a Bad Girl as an exploitation film
  • Images from the Playground, a half-hour documentary by Stig Björkman with behind-the-scenes footage shot by Bergman, archival audio interviews with Bergman, and new interviews with actresses Bibi Andersson and Harriet Andersson
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Laura Hubner, a 1958 review by filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, and a publicity piece from 1953 in which Bergman interviews himself

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Harriet Andersson, Lars Ekborg
    • 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: 1.37:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: R (Restricted)
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: May 29, 2012
    • Run Time: 97 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B007A9EGC2
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,438 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Galina on March 27, 2007
    Format: DVD
    What started as a story of idyllic summer of love and journey, shared between very young Harry and Monica, became an interesting study of relationship that had to survive the demands of real world after the journey was over.

    I kept thinking while watching this film what would've happened to Romeo and Juliet (who were close by age to film's heroes Monica, 17 and Harry, 19) had they been given a chance to live happily ever after. Would they be able to love each other after the reality of marriage would fight with their eternal love, when the baby is crying all night long and there is no money to pay a rent, and young and tender Juliet has learned about power and pleasures of sex but her Romeo is always out working, trying to make enough money to support her and the child? Would Juliet get bored and angry with Romeo for leaving her home alone? Would she start looking for fun elsewhere? Would be Romeo left heartbroken and bitter or would the memories of that unforgettable summer with his Juliet - Monica still stay with him as the best time of his life?

    Beautiful film with wonderful Harriet Andersson as a sultry teenager Monica, full of life, rebellious against her boring existence at home, ready for all pleasures of adult life but not ready for responsibilities of a wife and a mother. Will she learn? Will she remember the summer with Harry? Bergman, as usual, does not answer the questions. He never does. He tells the story - we are the ones who are left with unanswered questions.
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    12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Turfseer on August 15, 2012
    Format: DVD
    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

    Right before the release of 'Sawdust and Tinsel', which marked the beginning of Ingmar Bergman's long string of profound films with metaphysical themes, he served up 'Summer with Monika', a film more in the tradition of the Italian neo-realists, about a young couple who spend a summer of abandon amongst the islands of the Swedish archipelago, north of Stockholm, before returning to the city and getting married.

    The film's principals, Harry and Monika, are introduced when they meet at a bar. One is struck right away by Monika's liking for Harry--he really doesn't have to do anything and immediately scores a date with her at the local cinema. We soon discover that both young people are very needy. Monika comes from the more lower class background, residing in a tenement apartment with her mother and an alcoholic father, along with younger siblings who can't keep quiet. Harry lives in a bigger home but lost his mother when he was eight and hardly speaks with his father who suffers from health problems.

    In the film's first act, Harry and Monika are at the point where they both want to run away as they both hate their jobs. Harry is a delivery person for a glass and porcelain factory and is constantly berated by his superiors as he's often late for work and shows little enthusiasm for the job. Monika works for a produce wholesaler and must endure the salacious comments and outright groping by crass co-workers and supervisors. It's understandable how Monika is so immediately attracted to the kindly Harry, as he doesn't treat her as a sex object like many of the men she knows from her side of the tracks.
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    16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Patrik Lemberg on March 1, 2006
    Format: DVD
    This 1953 film is available on region free Tartan DVD from as "Summer with Monika" (almost directly translated from the original title "Sommaren med Monika".) It's an OK edition, worth obtaining especially for Bergman fans. The film is also available on NTSC VHS as "Monika." Renaming the title of this film yet another time as "Monika, the Story of a Bad Girl" is just ridiculous. Even if the studio that will provide this DVD is going to be Criterion, I will certainly have to think twice whether or not I want "Bergman's Story of Monika the Bad Girl" on my bookshelf...who the hell is handing out these additional/optional movie titles over 50 years in retrospect, anyway...?
    Aside from unaccredited roles in past Ingmar Bergman films, Harriet Andersson is introduced in a leading role alongside Lars Ekborg (both in their twenties playing 17 year old Monika and 19 year old Harry.) As often in Bergman's films the story has a deeper meaning than its basic plot, and has a stable shifting of multiple emotion. This is also one of few Bergman films to feature so many beautiful Swedish archipelago images. Among his better from the early era.
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    13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. on November 24, 2007
    Format: DVD
    **** 1953. Co-written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Two teenagers spend the summer in the country after having left their job and their family. When they return to Stockholm, Monika is pregnant and Harry must now find a way to support his family. Two years after Summer Interlude (Sommarlek) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.0 Import - Great Britain ], Ingmar Bergman describes another figure of woman. But if the summer Marie spends with Henrik will leave a lasting souvenir in the youg woman's heart, Monika will soon forget the idyllic weeks spent with Harry and will not bear the prosaic return to the real world. A movie about innocence and responsibility that will leave you hating reality. Once more.
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    Summer with Monika (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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