It's late nineteenth century Sweden. Middle aged lawyer Fredrik Egerman and his nineteen year old current wife Anne Egerman's two-year marriage has not yet been consummated. Fredrik wants ... See full summary »
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A kind but pampered beautiful young virgin and her family's pregnant and jealous servant set out to deliver candles to church, but only one returns from events that transpire in the woods along the way.
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It's late nineteenth century Sweden. Middle aged lawyer Fredrik Egerman and his nineteen year old current wife Anne Egerman's two-year marriage has not yet been consummated. Fredrik wants to give Anne as much time as she needs to feel comfortable before losing her virginity. Although she loved Fredrik when they got married, Anne realizes she is attracted to Fredrik's adult son, Henrik Egerman, a brooding seminary student who is home following his most recent exams. Also a virgin, Henrik has been in an awkward flirtation with the Egermans' sexually experienced maid, Petra, in an effort to lose his virginity. When she first sees actress Desirée Armfeldt, Anne, without Fredrik telling her, knows that Desirée and Fredrik used to be lovers, the two who still have feelings for each other. Desirée currently is having an affair with married Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm. While he is jealous of any man who Desirée shows any attention to such as Fredrik, he is not the same with his young wife, the ... Written by
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While everyone is at the supper, Henrik collapses on the table. Anna puts her hand on his right shoulder but after a cutaway to Fredrik's face, her hand is now on the left shoulder. She is also much closer to the table, and Fredrik is looking the wrong way. See more »
[holding a cup of wine at a dinner table]
My dear children and friends. According to legend, the wine is pressed from grapes whose juice gushes out like drops of blood against the pale grape skin. It is also said that to each cask filled with this wine was added a drop of milk from a young mother's breast and a drop of seed from a young stallion. These lend to the wine secret seductive powers. Whoever drinks hereof does so at his own risk and must answer for himself.
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It takes place at the turn of the century. Fredrik Egerman is an old, cynical man who is married to beautiful, young (20) Anne. She can't have sex with him--she's too afraid. He knows and agrees to be patient. He also has a son from a previous marriage (Henrik) who is attracted to Anne. He's also attracted to the maid Petra. Then there's Desiree, a former mistress of Fredrik who is now sleeping with Malcolm (who's also married) and still attracted to Fredrik. Got all that? They all end up spending a summer weekend at a beautiful house in the woods. Things come to a head.
I've always wanted to see this--the title alone is beautiful. I did see it in a revival theatre in the 1980s--I hated it. The print was lousy and edited! During a fairly explicit (for 1955) talk about sex the subtitles disappeared! Just saw it again--unedited and in pretty good shape. While I don't think this is a masterpiece (I'm not a Bergman fan) I did like this.
It is funny--but pretty subtle. The relationships are all complicated but you do have them straight by the end. What's really good about this film is how Bergman treats (and shows) his female characters. Except for Anne (but she changes) they're strong, stand up for themselves and find men and their ways amusing--some of Desirre's looks were very funny. Also, in the form of Petra, they want sex and have no problem letting men know. For 1955 audiences this must have been shocking--Petra (almost) bares her breast and the sexual talk between women is very frank.
The acting is good by everybody...but the film is lacking in romance. I never believed any of these characters loved each other. Also it's slow-moving but it all ends happily. So I did like it--I give it an 8.
Later musicalized by Stephen Sondheim as "A Little Night Music" and disastrously remade (sort of) in Woody Allen's "A Midsummers Night Sex Comedy". Avoid that one at all costs.
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