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A Ship to India (1947)

Skepp till India land (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 26 August 1949 (USA)
A sailor returns to his hometown after 7 years and remembers the dark and the light moments of his past.


Ingmar Bergman


Ingmar Bergman (screenplay), Martin Söderhjelm (play)
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Holger Löwenadler ... Kapten Alexander Blom
Anna Lindahl ... Alice Blom
Birger Malmsten ... Johannes Blom
Gertrud Fridh ... Sally
Naemi Briese ... Selma
Hjördis Petterson ... Sofi (as Hjördis Pettersson)
Lasse Krantz ... Hans
Jan Molander ... Bertil
Erik Hell ... Pekka
Åke Fridell ... Variety hall owner
Douglas Håge ... Customs officer (scenes deleted)


Sailor Johannes Blom returns to his home port, after seven years at sea, to find that Sally, the girl he has been thinking of while away, is completely despondent. Seven years earlier, obstreperous Alexander Blom, brings his mistress Sally to live with him, his wife Alice, son Johannes, and crew, aboard the salvage boat he captains. Amidst all the tensions on the small boat, Johannes and Sally fall in love with each other. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

26 August 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frustration See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sveriges Folkbiografer See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Although this was the third Bergman-directed film, it was the first to be released in the United States, in 1949. His two prior films did not get released in the US. Five more years would elapse before another Bergman film, "Sommarlek" (actually Bergman's tenth film), would appear commercially in America. See more »

Alternate Versions

This shorter US version also omits the end of the windmill scene just as Johannes and Sally are lying down together to have sex. This 78 minute version also is missing entirely a longer scene toward the end of the film, just before Johannes leaves Sally to join the Navy, clearly indicating the two have just made love. See more »


Featured in Bergman: A Year in the Life (2018) See more »

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User Reviews

On the waterfront
19 December 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Was only introduced to Ingmar Bergman seven years ago and very quickly he landed on my list of best and most influential directors. He did have occasional disappointments here and there (a vast majority of directors did/do), such as 'All Those Women' and 'The Serpent's Egg'. But he was great once he found his style, and quite a lot of his films are masterpieces such as 'The Seventh Seal', 'Fanny and Alexander', 'Wild Strawberries', 'Cries and Whispers', 'Persona' and 'The Virgin Spring'.

His third film 'A Ship to India' as director, following on from 'Crisis' and 'It Rains on Our Love', is a long way from being one of the master's best. Then again this was very early on in his career and when he was still finding his style properly. For such early Bergman however, 'A Ship to India' is a very interesting film and one can see signs of his distinctive style and themes already, it is also a not bad at all one. Actually thought it was quite well done on the whole.

As always for a Bergman film, there is some very nice photography (though this aspect has certainly been done better and more inspired in later Bergman films). Likewise with good use of very atmospheric locations. Bergman's direction became more refined and instinctive later on, then again it is early days, but one can definitely see a lot of promise here. The script s thoughtful, having the tension and emotion necessary.

The story is unmistakable Bergman in terms of themes and the tensions between the characters are believable. Emotionally it didn't feel cold. The acting is very strong from a chillingly cruel Holger Lowenadler and Birger Malmsten portrays a character worth relating to.

For all those good things, the uneven character writing also works against 'A Ship to India'. It is agreed that motivations are hard to buy, due to them being introduced suddenly without much warning and contradicting anything sad before. There were things crying out for explanation left hanging in the air.

On the most part the photography is fine but parts are a bit on the drab side. Some of the intensity wavers later on, with a few dreary moments.

Summarising, interesting and well done but Bergman is not at his best here. 7/10

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