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

Thursday, May 11, 2017


Ingrid Bergman
SARATOGA TRUNK (1945). Director: Sam Wood.

"I don't have money, either, but I know how to turn a trick." -- Clint.

"Common. Common as dirt."  -- Angelique to Clio.

"Shut your mouth -- or I'll send you away somewhere to starve." -- Clio to Angelique.

After her mother's death,.Clio Dulaine (Ingrid Bergman) travels from France to New Orleans with a weird entourage consisting of old Angelique (Flora Robson), who takes care of her as she did her mother before her, and little person, Cupidon (Jerry Austin), who is only a couple of feet tall but feisty and fun. Clio is in New Orleans to get revenge on all of those who turned on her mother, a supposed murderess of her father, but this plot is quickly resolved once she meets cowboy Clint Maroon (Gary Cooper). After a love-hate courtship, Clint leaves for Saratoga and Clio follows, hoping to snare the wealthy if weak, supposedly mother-dominated Bartholomew Van Steed (John Warburton of Secret File Hollywood). But are Clio and Clint really sure that they are out of each other's systems? Saratoga Trunk is a weird movie that loses its focus and grip early on, but offers an excellent performance from Bergman -- who has never been photographed more beautifully -- and a good turn from Cooper. The problem with the film, among many, is that the most exciting scene has to do with a railroad clash -- and crash -- where two trains collide, men jump off the trains, and a rousing fight scene ensues -- unfortunately, none of this has much to do with the main plot of Saratoga Trunk (and the whole business with the railroad is tedious aside from the aforementioned scene). Apparently playing a black woman, British actress Robson [Caesar and Cleopatra] is wonderful as Angelique; Austin offers a winning performance as Cupidon; and there are splendid turns from Florence Bates [Rebecca] as a Saratoga society lady who helps Clio, and Ethel Griffies as the formidable termagant mother of Van Steed, who is out to expose Clio as a phony. Throughout the movie the love-hate badinage between Clio and Angelique is priceless. This is based on a novel by Edna Ferber.

Verdict: Lots of good things in this movie, a striking performance from Bergman, but a half-baked and over-boiled story that doesn't quite work. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Has been a long time since I saw this gotta love the cast, at least. I lOVE all those old character actors--Florence Bates, Flora Robson (Ftatateetah in Caesar & Cleopatra was her best, I agree)--and the pairing of Cooper and Ingrid Bergman is memorable.

William said...

This is a weird one but I'm glad I caught up with it. Bergman is splendid!