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Smiles of a Summer Night (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
"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."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A magical movie with a touch of humor, romance, and a wonderfully complicated story told lovingly and beautifully.Published 1 month ago by Andrew Pinkowitz
My father -- a movie addict but very critical -- said Smiles of a Summer Night was the most perfect movie he had ever seen. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Shelley Isom
What can one say? It's great, it's a classic, it's so full of life and music that one hardly needs the Sondheim version except for pure fan-boy fun. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Carol Hanson
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
Bergman, Ingmar. Smiles of a Summer Night. (1955) The Criterion Collection.
Gunnar Bjornstrand, Eva Dahlbeck, Ulla Jacobsson, Harriet Andersson, etc. Read more
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 morePublished on January 16, 2013 by mr. contrarian
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 morePublished on September 9, 2012 by Dr. Morbius
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 morePublished on September 9, 2012 by Sara Q.
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