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Music in Darkness (1948)
"Musik i mörker" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  1 July 1963 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 542 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 8 critic

In Sweden, the upper-class pianist Bengt Vyldeke suffers an accident in the military drill and becomes blind. He returns to the house of his aunt Beatrice Schröder and is initially ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Birger Malmsten ...
Bengt Vyldeke
Olof Winnerstrand ...
The Vicar
Naima Wifstrand ...
Mrs. Schröder
Bibi Skoglund ...
Agneta
Hilda Borgström ...
Lovisa
Douglas Håge ...
Kruge
...
Klasson
Bengt Eklund ...
Ebbe
Åke Claesson ...
Augustin Schröder
John Elfström ...
Otto Klemens
Rune Andréasson ...
Evert
Bengt Logardt ...
Einar Born
Marianne Gyllenhammar ...
Blanche
Sven Lindberg ...
Hedström
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Storyline

In Sweden, the upper-class pianist Bengt Vyldeke suffers an accident in the military drill and becomes blind. He returns to the house of his aunt Beatrice Schröder and is initially supported by his sister Agneta since his fiancée Blanche has called off their engagement and his friends have abandoned him. When Agneta goes to the university, the young servant Ingrid helps Bengt in his daily life and falls in love with him. But she overhears a conversation between Bengt and Beatrice when his master belittles her calling Ingrid of "little maid". Bengt travels to play piano in the restaurant of a cunning manager and finds humiliation and loneliness. Years later he meets Ingrid, who has studied and is near to graduate and he falls in love with her. But Ingrid has a boyfriend Ebbe (Bengt Eklund), strong and handsome, and Bengt has to fight with his inferiority complex first to win the love of Ingrid. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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From the World's Master Film Maker Ingmar Bergman a startling journey into the darkness of the human soul!

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Drama

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1 July 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Music in Darkness  »

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1.37 : 1
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Referenced in Three Scenes with Ingmar Bergman (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Light and dark, those words have no meaning anymore"
6 September 2008 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

For some reason, when I heard the term "early Bergman," I envisioned 'Music in Darkness (1948)' to be a rather primitive piece of film-making. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised, instead finding the film to be beautifully photographed by cinematographer Göran Strindberg, with all the refreshing themes and visuals we've come to expect from Sweden's master director. Bergman's fourth as director, the film is a fairly straightforward melodrama, dealing with a young man's attempts to accept a newly-acquired disability. However, the film's techniques never strike one as being sentimental or manipulative in that classic Hollywood sense; the main character is not a selfless humble martyr, nor is he a selfish tyrant who regains his humanity through the kindness of others. Indeed, Bergman paints a rather unflattering portrait of society, as his blind protagonist is regularly exploited for money, or otherwise disregarded as a useless cripple. Even the film's ending, while seemingly ideal on the surface, carries with it a sense of ambiguity, the uncertainty of a future that could easily turn awry.

When Bengt Vyldeke (Birger Malmsten) is struck blind in a military training exercise, he is plunged into a debilitating darkness that robs him of everything he's come to expect from life. As he fights death in the moments following the accident, he imagines himself clawing across darkened mudflats, as grimy, disembodied arms grope blindly at his limbs. These clutching appendages represent Bengt's devastating fall from upper-class society, as he is unceremoniously dragged into the vessel of a man who is consistently ignored, pitied and exploited for his disability. Almost immediately afterwards, Bengt is abandoned by his friends (including his girlfriend Blanche), and finds sole consolation in the home of Mrs. Schröder (Naima Wifstrand), who agrees to teach him music. It is here that Bengt comes to meet Ingrid (Mai Zetterling), a pretty young servant from "peasant stock," who forms a touching friendship with her blind master, one built on trust and understanding rather than pity. Whereas, previously, class differences would have kept the pair far apart, Bengt's disability serves as a bridge of sorts.

Throughout the film, class difference does occasionally rear its ugly head to jeopardise Bengt and Ingrid's romance – at one point, he refers to her as a "little wench," not realising that she is listening to his conversation. It is only when Bengt comes to accept that his place in the world has fallen that he can appreciate and accept Ingrid as a genuine love interest, however alienating such a realisation must necessarily be. Curiously, the film's blind protagonist ultimately regains his dignity through being punched in the nose. Bengt is competing with the handsome and able-sighted Ebbe (Bengt Eklund) for Ingrid's love, but must suffer the humiliation of being totally disregarded as a potential rival. When he decides to stand up for his girl, he unexpectedly suffers a fist to the face, and this rather cowardly act from an unhandicapped man serves to liberate Bengt from his cocoon of helplessness and inconsequentiality. The marriage, when it comes, seems more an act of defiance than anything else, and the audience is left wondering whether this ill-advised gamble will ever pay off.


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