Goodbye Again (1961)
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Great performances by all. The script is perfect in my opinion. The cinematography by Armand Thirard is simply beautiful; giving a real Parisian early 60's Be-Bop nuance. Auric's film score is great. Ingrid is in excellent acting form & stunning. Yves plays his character very close to the vest which is exactly how this kind of personality needs to be played. Diahann Carroll is so beautiful & cool as the nightclub singer. Jessie Royce Landis is wonderful as Perkins' mother. I've only seen Anthony Perkins in 3 other films & he in my opinion is always excellent. He was obviously a very intuitive actor & so very gorgeous & I think his incredible looks may have hampered others from seeing his incredible acting talents.
What else can I say without giving away this magnificent story? A must see for all young girls. The ending scene is so moving I couldn't even cry although I understand why so many other viewers wrote that this is a movie where you need to have plenty of tissues handy. It was a shocking film for me to watch on so many levels because it offered exactly what you expected & then it didn't - too true to life in a most poignant way. Heart wrenching - a definite must see.
But Perkins is a little squirrelly to me. Like other viewers, I have a hard time seeing Ingrid's character falling for such a immature excuse for a man. Perhaps the only explanation is that her esteem is so wounded, and Perkins so lavish in his affection, admiration and even worship of her, that she can't help but turn to Perkins. I don't know.
I hate that she goes back to that cad played by Yves Montand. Its so obvious that a tiger can't change its stripes.
What I don't understand, is I read how many viewers were moved to tears. I will readily admit that I'm usually easily moved to tears with a good tear-jerker. But this movie didn't even come close. So I'm still left wondering - what did I miss?
I liked some of the running themes in the movie. The "mask" theme was pretty easy to pick up on, yet it worked. The full circle the movie does from the beginning to the very end is great, too. But still, so sad. Worthy of a good cry.
The cast is all fine, but I believe Tony Perkins steals all his scenes. As Phillip, he does play many different parts. But he manages to be sincere in all of them. He did a splendid job, and I laughed heartily at many of his little "play-acting" bits. Tony proved in several movies that he is not Norman Bates; it's just a shame too few people realized it during his lifetime.
There are certainly are such people, and their relationships are as much worthy of consideration, empathy and sympathy as anyone's. The main trio in "Goodbye Again" are very much these prototypes: confused, bored and trapped. Is it any wonder they just can't seem to get their lives together?
For me, this is a sad film, given superlative treatment in all departments. Brahms' rich melodies are embroidered by George Auric's sensitive original score. Armond Thirard's black and white photography is beautifully atmospheric. Samuel Taylor's screenplay is true to Sagan's original novel, and Anatol Litvak's direction wraps everything up neatly.
The cast can't be bettered: the combined star-power trio of Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Perkins and Yves Montand is perfect, and these three bring great pathos to the proceedings. The level of significance of these characters may be rather inconsequential in the long run--but the emotions they themselves feel are genuine. This fine acting trio embodies these roles and the result is a most engrossing two hours.
Wow, such a beautiful and poignant look at fidelity and sacrifice in a relationship, just as the world is teetering from mid-20th Century stability to the 1960s and the free-for-all that meant for many. And the movie itself is one of the last, like "The Apartment" on this side of the Atlantic, to be made in the old Hollywood style, with invisible editing, gorgeous black and white photography, tight story construction, and a full, rounded sensibility that might, without being derogatory, be called "classic." I could watch it again today just for its perfect blending of acting, writing, filming, and tragic themes, which struck me hard.
It's hard to believe this kind of movie didn't fly at the time, and hasn't made an impression since. Anthony Perkins is at his charming, disarming best here (he had just finished filming "Psycho"), and in some ways steals the show from the much bigger headliner, an amazing (as always) Ingrid Bergman. They make an unlikely screen couple, but a great one. The tensions between them are not only reasonable, their inevitable, or so the writing has made it seem. Which is perfect. The third star is a paradigm of old school suave European manliness, Yves Montand, quite wonderfully appealing and disgusting at the same time. Everyone is dressed great, thanks to costume design by Christian Dior. (There's even a comment by a rich older woman who says she's going shopping "to Dior's.")
This is a very European feeling film, though it is of course an "American" movie in that it's in English, but it was officially made by the small production company, Argus, which otherwise made only French films. This was the era of the declining and disappearing studios, and one way a movie got made was exactly like this, patching together talents and money and location shooting. Making it a European film had the advantage of pushing some adult issues, which is what helps the film have relevance today. The director, Anatole Litvak, though an immigrant to the U.S., was thoroughly a Hollywood director, and overall this has the feel of the best of the great Golden Age movies, though updated of course by the realities of 1960s Paris. Along those lines, there is a great appearance of club jazz singer Diahann Carroll.
For a really nice detailing of the film see the TCM article here: http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/88170%7C0/Goodbye-Again.html or just google the title and TCM.
An actress of this much grace is worthy of something more useful than the milksop of Anthony Perkins as Philip. Sure, he's supposed to be dense, naive and a mama's-boy. And at this point in time Perkins was being worked as a leading man he never became. For good reason. There's no substantive distinction between this role and his role in Psycho. Opaque. His smile/smirk frozen, false and inscrutable. In initial courting he really does come off more oppressive and menacing than lovelorn. The "light switch" scene: I'm not sure if he's going to kiss her or kill her.
Oh, if only they had cast a believable actor. The scenes where he stops going to work have no veracity at all. He is a wooden marionette. Montand does his Montand thing but it's direct and simple anyway. No significant hopeful would have taken the second role of dumpee, but if Philip had been played by a young Redford-type this movie could have been much more.
I've loved that Brahms piece for years so it was amazing to hear it singled out with such fury as a plot element, and the continual thematic variations in the background. A bit heavy- handed but appreciated.
Many of the last few scenes are just delicious. The "viewed-from across the floor" scene during Philips resignation celebration was completely believable, despite it's melodrama. And that hang-dog look that Bergman gets--who could guess she could wear that kabuki mask believably!?
The real gems are all in the last 15 minutes. The ending itself is stunningly modern for the tone of this movie. Honest and direct and unflinching. I had heard of the make-up removal scene before but it was beautiful to watch.
But, this has to be one of the best movies Ingrid Bergman ever made. The casting in this movie was inspired. Ingrid loves Yves Montand, but he won't commit to the married life, and Montand is perfect as the man who wants both his freedom and Ingrid, who also has her freedom to date other men, but doesn't want to. "Some freedom," her maid says. Her maid is like the french equivalent of a Thelma Ritter character.
Ingrid is an interior decorator. Enter Jessie Royce Landis, who is just great as an exacting and demanding (and cheap) client of Ingrid's, who's also very rich. Enter Anthony Perkins, soon after making "Psycho," as Landis' son. He obviously falls for Ingrid, and she loves the attention, since she's unhappy with her situation.
The rest you have to see for yourself. The viewer is on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, as we feel everything Ingrid feels and even Tony, too. Miss this and you miss true actors at their best. By the way, do you like Brahms?
One of the best scenes, late in the picture, takes place on the dance floor of Maxim's and has NO dialog--just facial expressions culminating in a touching of hands.
The original French title, "Aimez-vous Brahms?", is reflected here in the use of Brahms's Third Symphony. Again, the feeling is conveyed by the music and the facial expressions of the actors. This music, long familiar to me, took on a new meaning.
This is a film made by adults for an adult audience--a 40-year-old audience will appreciate it, a younger audience will not.
I was amused to see other reviewers reflect what I feel about Perkins. He was being groomed to be a leading man after his fame in Psycho. In 2 years he makes a film with first Bergman then Loren and finally the bottom of the barrel Mercouri. The problem with Perkins other than his Psycho association is he is sexless and looks like a scare crow. Plus his facial expressions are unappealing and he wears too much mascara----did I mention? he is also he is far far too skinny and waif like. In fact what is appealing about him? Almost zero.
He is anything but a leading man and these sexy strong women make it all the more obvious that he is miscast. He is destined in life to make things like Psycho IV.
One more thing why do the French love ugly actors (Depardieu Montand). I am sorry Yves Montand was not handsome he needed a chin implant to start. This movie is worth watching for Bergman's performance only that saved it for me.
Produced and directed by Anatole Litvak, "Goodbye Again" features a trio of stars who certainly looked better on paper. We don't see much for Bergman to find attractive in either Perkins or Montand. Frankly, Bergman isn't especially attractive to either man, either. There is little passion in either pairing. Bergman is morbid. Perkins too silly. Montand seems disinterested even in the sexpots that appear in his bed. Other than having the younger heads popping in front of the camera, Mr. Litvak's dance scene near the end looks good. He uses automobiles to parallel his characters; at one point, Bergman's tears cover her car's windshield.
**** Goodbye Again (5/61) Anatole Litvak ~ Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Perkins, Yves Montand, Jessie Royce Landis
Here, it's at the end of a scene at the elegant Pre Catelan restaurant. Ingrid and Yves' relationship is floundering. Ingrid rushes away in her little car. Finally alone, she can allow herself to cry. And there follows a long, odd subjective shot, with tears as thick as honey dripping ever so slowly down the lens. Confused, Ingrid turns on the windshield wipers repeatedly until she realizes that she's crying, it's not rain. (The way it is shot, if it had been rain, each drop would have been as large as a pint).
I haven't had the pleasure to read "Aimez Vous Brahms?" but even if the heroine does turn on windshield wipers because she doesn't realize that she is crying, it doesn't translate to film. It has to be seen to be believed.
On the upside is Ingrid Bergman's textured performance as Paula, and her mature beauty seems to reflect perfectly her saturnine situation. She is believably matched with Yves Montand as Roget in a performance that seems to echo his real-life situation with wife Simone Signoret when he embarked on a well-publicized affair with Marilyn Monroe the year before. Jesse Royce Landis shows up in her typical role as a pompous society matron, this time Philip's cheapskate mother, while Diahann Carroll shows up in a disposable cameo as a world-weary jazz chanteuse. Director Anatole Litvak paces the film a bit too leisurely and adds some silly but amusing touches like Paula's delusion of rain as she drives during a crying jag, but he creatively uses a circular structure to his plot by beginning and ending the film with almost the same scene. Adapting Francoise Sagan's "Aimez-vous Brahms?", screenwriter Samuel Taylor lends the sort of wry observations he contributed to his scripts for "Sabrina" and "Vertigo". As of March 2008, this film is not available on DVD.
Perkins gives a rather skittish performance as the rich and admittedly spoiled playboy who casts loving looks at Bergman from the moment they meet. YVES MONTAND is charming as the heavily accented Frenchman who also has romantic designs on Bergman and their scenes together have a bit more conviction than those involving Bergman and Perkins.
If this had been filmed in the '40s, it would have been labeled a "woman's film", the sort of weepie that kept devotees of Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Crawford happy. It's a silky smooth "weeper", a bittersweet tale of an ill-fated affair between a much older, more experienced woman and a playful young man. As such, it no doubt appealed to the fantasies of many women, but it does seem a strange choice of material for director Anatole Litvak to pursue, given his reputation for filming some grim melodramas in his time.
The one note theme of the film--falling in love with the wrong person at the wrong time--becomes a bit tiresome before the first hour is over. In short, the story drags rather than moves forward despite the quality of the acting.
Highly recommended for fans of Ingrid Bergman who want to see her looking beautiful in her mid-forties wearing a number of flattering Christian Dior outfits. Otherwise, it tends to try the patience of the average male viewer with its appeal largely directed at women.
Montand's character should be perfect for Bergman's character, and appreciate her. Instead (happily for me) he plays a hateful, two-timing, immature ass. Bergman's 40-year-old character has no business with the 25-year-old Perkins character (which is wonderful acting on both their parts) but (at least for his sake) you want them to be together. "C'est la vie!" It would be nice if this film were in color. It would be nice if Life had that clarity, too: Love this one, this person's the one for you, no doubts, no shadows. But neither are like that. So it's somehow appropriate to examine the subject of attraction in shades of gray. Goodbye again...A challenge to examine your own attractions, the masks in your life that may slip from time to time as Montand's mask slips on the wall at one point. (There's even some subtle, though perhaps unintended humor, as the mother asks Montand's character his astrological sign and exclaims, "Taurus, the bull! I should have known!") You don't watch this movie because it's fun. And it's no fun to find yourself wishing Montand's character and Bergman's character were back together when Bergman's character becomes Perkins' character's mother figure. And you realize that it's Bergman's character that's the dishonest one...She goes with the status quo and what's safe and easiest for herself. No it's no fun to watch. But it's all so well crafted that you can't turn away. Maybe like those relationships that you somehow need to have, even though you don't know why.
I recommend this film but only if you're ready to be affected in ways you didn't expect to be...like the chill you will feel in your stomach at the end.
You know...I hate Ingrid Bergman...And that Montand is quite an actor.