Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


INTERMEZZO (1936). Director: Gustaf Molander.

Holger Brandt (Gosta Ekman), a famous violinist, is married to Margit (Inga Tidblad) and has two children, the self-assured little girl, Ann-Marie (Britt Hagman), and the handsome engineer student, Ake (Hasse Ekman). Into their lives comes the aspiring pianist, Anita Hoffman (Ingrid Bergman). Despite a 25-year age difference, Holger and Anita drift into an affair, which the former eventually tells his wife about. Burning his bridges behind him, Holger takes off on a tour with Anita as his accompanist, but when his wife sues for divorce he hesitates in signing the papers. Do those old feelings for his family still linger? Ingrid Bergman had already made a few films in Sweden when she did Intermezzo, the film in which Hollywood took notice of her. Although never a great beauty by conventional standards, she generally looks quite striking and attractive in this picture, and her performance is excellent. The other cast members are equally good, but Intermezzo is rather on the slight and superficial side and becomes too melodramatic at the end. This is chiefly known as the film that started Bergman on her way to major stardom; she appeared in the American remake three years later. Intermezzo's basic story of a man who leaves wife and children for a younger woman had been done many, many, many times before and this would hardly be the last time. The best scene is actually between Holger and his son towards the end.

Verdict: Very good performances almost disguise that this is soap opera. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Have never seen the original version, but did like the Selznick version with Leslie Howard. Where did you find it? I have seen the foreign version of the Garbo Anna Christie, as well as a foreign version of the 1931 Dracula done on the same set with a different actor. I have a feeling this would seem like a similar experience...
- C

William said...

The two Intermezzos are similar in many ways but they're still a different experience, oddly enough.

I found the Swedish Intermezzo on DVD in the New York public library. Lots of great stuff, there.