Smiles of a Summer Night | Das Lächeln einer Sommernacht
A romantic comedy set around the turn of the century: After the death of his first wife, lawyer Fredrik Egerman (Gunnar Björnstrand) marries pretty young Anne (Ulla Jacobsson). She is about the same age as his son Henrik (Björn Bjelfvenstam) from his first marriage, who has just passed his theology examinations. Henrik hides his feelings for Anne beneath the mantle of virtue and scolds the fresh maid Petra (Harriet Andersson) for wiggling her hips. Anne learns that Fredrik has had an affair with the celebrated actress Desirée Armfeldt (Eva Dahlbeck), who has broken up with him, but is still very much in love. One evening Fredrik secretly visits Desirée in the dressing room after her performance, raves about his young wife, but tells her that his marriage has never been consummated. At this moment her new lover, the jealous Count Malcolm (Jarl Kulle), bursts in and throws Frederik out in his nightshirt. The round of love takes its course …
Bergman pays close attention to every detail in th e elaborate scenery and costumes of this summer comedy set in well-to-do society, which cinematographer Gunnar Fischer films with great precision. The deliberate staginess of the mise-en-scène is borne up by Bergman’s quick-fire, often cutting, always trenchant dialogue: the back-biting bitchiness of the rivalling women, the humiliating encounter between father and son, the battle of words between the lovers trying to connect with each other. At the 1956 Cannes Film Festival the film was awarded the Jury Prize “Prix de l’humour poétique”.
by Ingmar Bergman
with Ulla Jabobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson