Four sisters-in-law wait in a summer house for the arrival of their husbands, four brothers from the Lobelius family who together have inherited a company. To kill the time, the women tell each other important incidents from their lives. Annette (Aino Taube) speaks only briefly about the cold-hearted relationship in her marriage with Paul (Håkan Westergren): they are like two Chinese bowing to each other. The story Rakel (Anita Björk) relates about her husband Eugen (Karl-Arne Holmsten) is shown, like the others, as a flashback: when Eugen brags about the way he can satisfy women, Rakel describes how she was seduced by their friend Kaj (Jarl Kulle) in the boathouse. Marta (Maj-Britt Nilsson) recounts how the youngest Lobelius brother Martin (Birger Malmsten), the black sheep of the family, wooed her away from her then boyfriend with a guitar serenade, but also how Martin left her in the lurch with their newborn baby. In the most famous and witty episode of the film, Karin (Eva Dahlbeck) and her husband Fredrik (Gunnar Björnstrand) get stuck in an elevator, where they renew their love for one another, much to the amusement of their rescuers.
In this early Bergman film the storylines are not interwoven, but rather recounted one after the other. Bergman adds an ironic point at the end: Marta’s younger sister elopes to Paris with her boyfriend – every new generation has to make their own mistakes.
by Ingmar Bergman
with Anita Björk, Eva Dahlbeck, Maj-Britt Nilsson