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

Thursday, March 30, 2017


AS TIME GOES BY: THE LIFE OF INGRID BERGMAN. Laurence Leamer. Harper and Row; 1986.

"Ingrid had learned to use people without appearing to use them."

"In my whole life I never had a woman so much in love with me as Ingrid was. The day after the picture ended, I couldn't get her on the phone." -- Gary Cooper

Ingrid Bergman was a mother (to four children) and a wife (with three different husbands) but her chief role was as movie star. She lived primarily if not exclusively for her work, and everything was subordinate to it. Her talent was indisputable, however, which perhaps made her feelings more acceptable. With a passionate and somewhat neurotic temperament, she often made bad choices. Her decisions in later years to make changes to some of the scripts she signed up for were not always wise. Bolstered with many interviews, this bio examines Bergman's early years in Sweden and in Hollywood, her romantic involvements (many of which she did not mention in her memoirs), and her difficult relationships with her children and husbands over the decades. As Time Goes By is a balanced portrait of the great movie star  -- the book is neither nasty nor full of sycophantic fawning -- analyzing her many film roles and detailing both her strengths and weaknesses as an actress, especially when she attempted parts she was not really suited for; Leamer gives the actress her due, but he does not love every movie nor does he think Bergman can do no wrong as an artist. This is an absorbing, well-written bio.

Verdict: Highly readable and interesting look at the life and career of Ingrid Bergman. ***1/2.

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