6.9/10
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4 user 12 critic

Prison (1949)

Fängelse (original title)
A film director tries to create the best film in history, but finds out that human abilities have their limits.

Director:

Ingmar Bergman

Writer:

Ingmar Bergman
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Doris Svedlund ... Birgitta Carolina Söderberg
Birger Malmsten ... Thomas
Eva Henning ... Sofi
Hasse Ekman ... Martin Grandé
Stig Olin ... Peter
Irma Christenson ... Linnea
Anders Henrikson ... Paul
Marianne Löfgren ... Mrs. Bohlin
Bibi Lindqvist Bibi Lindqvist ... Anna
Curt Masreliez ... Alf
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Britta Holmberg ... Birgitta's Mother in Dream (voice)
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Storyline

A movie director is approached by his old math teacher with a great movie idea: the Devil declares that the Earth is hell. The director rejects the idea, but subsequent events in the life of a writer, a friend of the director's, and a young prostitute he loves seem to prove the math teacher's idea. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

INGMAR BERGMAN reflects on life, love, the Devil and immortality...

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Sweden

Language:

Swedish

Release Date:

4 July 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Wanton See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

SEK 240,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Terrafilm See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hasse Ekman's Flickan från tredje raden (1949) was made as a reaction to the dark view of life in this film, wanting to show that the world after all is not as horrible as it might appear. Ekman starred in both. See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening titles in this film. An unseen narrator (Hasse Ekman) reads the credits, as well as the title, out loud approximately ten minutes in to the movie. The sole title card is the standard "Slut" (Swedish for "End") that closes the picture. See more »

Connections

Featured in Bergman Island (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Blott en dag, ett ögonblick i sänder
Composed by Oscar Ahnfelt (1872)
Lyrics written by Lina Sandell (1865)
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User Reviews

 
PRISON (Ingmar Bergman, 1949) ***
12 March 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This is the earliest Bergman film that I've watched, and already the prime concerns that occupied him throughout most of his career - human relationships, sex, faith, death, etc. - are well in evidence.

Interestingly, the narrative is set against a motion-picture backdrop; in fact, the film demonstrates a self-conscious approach to the medium that would re-emerge in later efforts such as PERSONA (1966) and THE PASSION OF ANNA (1969): rather than observing the normal procedure for the time, the credits don't appear at the outset but, effectively interrupting the proceedings after the first reel, these are given in a voice-over! Besides, the plot seems to be following the interconnecting vicissitudes of a variety of characters - but chiefly the crisis facing two separate couples - all of which, somewhat murkily and pretentiously, serves as a morality play about the triumph of Evil over Good, as envisioned in a framework set inside a studio and involving a film director's old ex-professor (the former happens to be the elder brother of one of the characters in the main narrative!).

It's all rather fascinating for much of the running-time - and the director's visual style really can't be faulted (a dream sequence is especially effective and there's even a short and quite amusing Silent slapstick film-within-a-film, ostensibly the amateurish work of one of the characters!) - but, eventually, the over-ambitious structure of PRISON (by the way, neither this vague title nor the equally well-known alternate given the film on its American release, THE DEVIL'S WANTON, really serve the purpose of its existentialist theme and generally introspective tone), to say nothing of the relentless gloominess, wear the whole down somewhat. All in all, however, it's a fine piece of work from a film-maker who would go on to become one of the leading forces in cinema during the second half of the 20th century.


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