Fanny and Alexander (1982) Poster


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At the time, the largest film ever made in Sweden (with 60 speaking parts and over 1200 extras) and the most expensive, with a budget of $6 million.
Ingmar Bergman professed to actually preferring the five-hour forty-eight minute version of the film.
Famous Swedish song-and-dance man Jan Malmsjö, who is playing the evil bishop Vergerus, thought it was strange that director Ingmar Bergman approached him for a role very much different from anything he had done. He asked Bergman about it, who replied: "Well, I sense some hidden dark and evil streaks inside you, Jan. You have it, I have it, all of us have."
To encourage a more natural performance from his young lead actor, Ingmar Bergman specifically didn't tell Bertil Guve what the film was about and what was going to happen in it.
The part of Bishop Edvard Vergérus was written by Ingmar Bergman with Max von Sydow in mind. When the screenplay was completed, von Sydow was contacted about playing the role, which would have been his first in a Bergman film since The Touch (1971). Von Sydow was willing and, in fact, very excited about playing the role. However, Bergman was not aware of this, since von Sydow was in Los Angeles at the time, and could only be reached through his agent who, acting in what he perceived as von Sydow's interest, told Bergman and his producers that von Sydow would only play the role if he could have a percentage of the film's profits, in addition to his salary. The producers, already stretched to their financial limits, of course balked, and told the agent that, sadly, there could be no such compromise, and began looking for other actors to play the pivotal part. By the time von Sydow had learned why his beloved role had been taken from him, Jan Malmsjö had already been cast as the Bishop, and von Sydow lost his chance to star in what would later be known to be Bergman's "last film" (although he would play key roles in The Best Intentions (1992) and Private Confessions (1996), both written by Bergman). Von Sydow was furious about the incident, and, by certain accounts, still harbours a bitter grudge about it to this day.
Ingmar Bergman wanted to kick off the six-month-long shoot with "something light and happy", so the first scene that were shot was the wild pillow fight starring all the children.
Ingmar Bergman's first draft of the script, completed in 1979, consisted of about 1,000 handwritten pages.
After playing Alexander, Bertil Guve decided not to pursue a career in acting. He is now a doctor of economics.
In his autobiography, Bergman cited Charles Dickens as an influence on his screenplay.
In paring down the film to exhibitable length, Bergman said he had to "cut into the nerves and lifeblood of the film".
Ingmar Bergman and cinematographer Sven Nykvist had a big falling-out during shooting, since Nykvist wanted to attend his ex-wife's funeral and Bergman wouldn't allow him to leave the set.
Ingmar Bergman shot approximately 24 hours of material.
The funeral scenes outside the church were shot by the crew since the director was sick with the flu.
Last theatrical movie directed by Ingmar Bergman.
Director Ingmar Bergman suffered serious bouts of hypochondria during shooting, and imagined he had gotten both testicular and stomach cancer at the same time.
Liv Ullmann was originally offered the role of Emilie Ekdahl (played by Ewa Fröling) but turned it down. Ingmar Bergman was very upset and told Ullmann that she'd "lost her birthright".
Ingmar Bergman's work diary was released in Sweden in 2006, revealing that the director had intense doubt in his ability to successfully finish the large undertaking that this film presented. There are constant hypochondriacal complaints about illnesses, misery, and fear he might not finish the movie due to personal concerns.
Ingmar Bergman's first film in his native Sweden after spending four years as a tax exile in Germany.
Although she is an eponymous character, Fanny isn't mentioned in the theatrical version of the film until nearly an hour into its running time. Conversely, in the television version, her name is the first word spoken.
Originally conceived as a four part TV movie running 312 minutes. The 178 minute version that was created for the cinemas was actually released first.
Ingmar Bergman stated in an interview that the Ekdahl family was named after the Ekdal family in Ibsen's play The Wild Duck.
The heating in the studios didn't work too well during the winter months, so scenes had to be shot in subzero temperatures before extra radiators got properly heated.
The script was written in three months. Pre-production however took a year.
Ingmar Bergman had Ingrid Bergman in mind when he wrote the role of Helena Ekdahl, grandmother of Fanny and Alexander. The role eventually went to Gunn Wållgren.
Not the first time Ingmar Bergman made a TV mini-series and released a truncated theatrical version to cinemas. He did the same with Scenes from a Marriage (1973).
At the end of the film when Emily introduces the idea to Helena that she wants to stage August Strindberg's brand new play "A Dream Play" and that she wishes for Helena to act with her in it, Helena is pretty pessimistic and reluctant about the whole idea and on the mention of Strindberg exclaims: "Oh no... that dreadful woman-hater!". This is somewhat of an in-joke from Bergman towards actress Gunn Wållgren (who portrays grandmother Helena): Gunn Wållgren is first of all well-known as one of Sweden's foremost Strindberg-interpretors ever and secondly; her most successful and praised part on stage was actually the part of Indra's Daughter in "A Dream Play" (a play and a part the actress also loved very much). Gunn Wållgren later in the final scene also recites the first lines of the play's prologue to Alexander.
In his diary book kept during shooting, Ingmar Bergman notes that Jan Malmsjö, playing Vergérus, once collapsed due to long shooting hours combined with stage work (6 performances a week).
Peter Stormare makes an uncredited appearance as one of the men helping Isak with the trunk.
Ingmar Bergman intended for this to be his last feature, although he subsequently wrote several more screenplays, directed for television and indeed helmed one last cinema release, Saraband (2003).
Shot in chronological order.
The story takes place during a span of two years from 1907 to 1909. Alexander is supposed to be 10 years old when the events of the film commence. In real life the young actor Bertil Guve was 11 years old. However Alexander has grown and is 12 years old in the final scenes. This means that by the time the production had wrapped after a six month shooting schedule, Bertil Guve was approximately 12 years old coinciding with his character's age.
Bertil Guve was cast on the strength of his appearance in a Lasse Hallström TV movie.
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All three of the Ekdahl sons are named after Swedish kings. In fact, if we assume that the characters are the same age as the actors who played them, then Oscar Ekdahl would have been born during the reign of Oscar I (reigned 1844- 1859), and Carl during the reign of Karl XV (reigned 1859 - 1872). Gustav Adolf would also have been born three years after Oscar, and thus during the reign of Oscar I as well, so he was presumably named after Gustav II Adolph (reigned 1611 - 1632), who made Sweden an international power during the Thirty Years' War, and who is possibly more famous to movie fans as the father of Queen Christina.
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Originally, Fanny and Alexander were planned to have a big sister, Amanda, two years older than Alexander, but the character was left out of the film. She does, however, appear in a book based on the screenplay.
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Gunn Wallgren and Allan Edwall play mother and son, though Edwall was born less than eleven years after Wallgren.
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The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
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The film takes place from 1907 to 1910.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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Film debuts of Bertil Guve and Pernilla Allwin, who play the title roles. It also marks as their only theatrical film appearance.
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Final film of Gunnar Björnstrand.
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Director Trademark 

Ingmar Bergman: [Vergérus and Egerman] Last names used.


The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Ingmar Bergman's favorite scene was the one with Alexander and the mummy, much thanks to Sven Nykvist's masterful, haunted lighting.

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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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