|Index||7 reviews in total|
I agree that "All These Women" is misunderstood, especially if you look
at it in the context of Bergman's filmography. He had just completed
the "Silence of God" trilogy, one of the deepest, most serious works in
the history of cinema. So, cut the man some slack and allow him his
lark, his goof, his chance to riff on fans and critics and the illusion
of the exalted artist (himself), before returning to his true work with
his next film, the universally praised "Persona."
I also think he was a little influenced by "8 1/2" which had come out the year before, appreciating Fellini's playfulness as well as his insight into the creative process and, of course, "all these women." Bergman will always be thought of as a somewhat austere and oft despairing artist, but thankfully we have several films that belie that, like "Smiles of a Summer Night," "The Magician," and this little oddball gem.
I never thought that I would have to say that but I did not like the
Ingmar Bergman's film "All These Women". In spite the very pretty and
delicate pink and blue cinematography and the presence of the charming
and talented actresses, the movie was a mess of an attempt to create a
comedy. Everything that was subtle, sensual, and charming in B/W
"Smiles of a Summer Night" (1955) was missing here. First of all - the
Jarl Kulle's performance as a music critic - biographer, Cornelius.
Kulle was very effective and funny in "Smiles...", in "Women..." - he
plays an irritating, annoying, and the worst - absolutely not funny
(which is a crime for a comedy) character. If in "Smiles... the writing
was a first class and sparkled, I got the impression that in "Women.."
Bergman did not care or did not want to work on the script and was more
interested in experimenting with colors and music. The movie looks and
sounds fine - it is Bergman, after all, but that's the only redeeming
qualities that I found.
This comedy, most notable for being Bergman's first film in color, is often considered one of his worst. I went into it with very low expectations, glad that it was just 80 minutes long. Thankfully, it's not nearly as bad as its reputation. It's minor Bergman, for sure. It's main crime is that it thinks it's much funnier than it ever is. That can be annoying, but, really, the film isn't exactly unfunny. Personally, I think Bergman only did comedy right once, with Smiles of a Summer Night, and even that one I don't think is amongst his best work. Simply put, Bergman excels at tragedy, and his comedy can feel forced. This film revolves around an art critic (Jarl Kulle, Bergman's most mugging actor) who comes to write a biography of a famous cellist at his palatial estate. The cellist (whose face never appears on screen) is a philanderer, surrounding himself with women of various ages (including Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson and Eva Dahlbeck). Kulle starts a fling with Bibi Andersson, and soon discovers that one of the wives or mistresses is attempting to murder the cellist. The Bergman film this reminds me most of is The Devil's Eye, which also stars Kulle (if I recall correctly, that one is slightly less comic). The color cinematography is actually quite excellent. Bergman didn't film again in color until Cries and Whispers. This is available on Hulu Plus.
I do say this with a heavy heart as I love and admire Ingmar Bergman
and many of his films and thought I'd never see a film of his I didn't
like. Until now. By all means it has its good points, the
cinematography, settings and music are beautiful and the female
cast(with three of Sweden's finest ever actresses) look splendid and
really try their best. Unfortunately, Jarl Kulle does nothing to make
his annoying character remotely likable. Cornelius isn't the only bad
character here though, I didn't care for any of them and none are
interesting, for a Bergman film that is unusual. Bergman I love as a
director, but he too seems out of his depth with a lack of momentum.
The writing seems forced and unfunny, while the story tries to do much
but does so in a clumsy and stilted manner.
Overall, I really wanted to love All These Women considering the talent involved, but I found it a really disappointing miscalculation.
4/10 Bethany Cox
Amazing that this film is on DVD. I saw it in 1967 (in suburban
Sacramento of all places) and have never seen a trace of it since.
It is a fairly terrible movie, but it does have its place in Bergman's movies. Swedish reviewers at this point in his career were among his severest critics, and this movie was his response. It should have been deft and ironic but, as I think we're all aware by now, Bergman is not exactly over-burdened with a sense of humor. I suppose he also thought color as something of a joke at that time, which might explain some of the very ugly effects.
I can't really recommend the movie but it does give some insight into Bergman, so I rank it a little higher than the other reviewers.
P.S. And I thank Anders, the foreign exchange student from Stockholm at my high school, for making me see this movie and who filled me in on the info about Bergman and the critics. He too thought it a lousy movie.
I have now watched two lesser pieces in a row ("A Lesson in Love" being the first), each of which is a comedy. The former had that fifties kind of feel to it with some cleverness and some unique banter. This is simply a mess. A music critic is writing a biographer of a famous cellist named Felix. As he researches this he becomes embroiled in the dalliances of the maestro. Like so many Amrican comedies of the sixties it is constant physical humor for it's own sake. The problem is that it is not very funny. There are beautiful women running around, each having a sexual connection to Felix. They all know each other and have even set up a schedule. I wonder if Bergman skipped some more valuable work to do this. Don't bother.
It's taken a few goes, but I have finally discovered that I can dislike
a Bergman film. Perhaps Swedish humour shares some characteristics with
Danish humour which tends to leave me cold and perplexed.
Several years on, I still cannot get the cheesy, syncopated version of "Yes, We Have No Bananas" out of my head.
The cast try their best but the material is beyond redemption. in fact, this cast does not include the best Bergman people anyhow.
This film simply is not at all funny nor is it interesting once you get 10 minutes in.
It is merely irritating.
This film is a lemon.
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