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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sommarnattens Leende (aka Smiles Of A Summer Night) (1955)

In turn of the (20th) century Sweden, a lawyer (Gunnar Bjornstrand) still hasn't consummated his marriage to his virginal bride (Ulla Jacobsson). But when he pays a visit to his ex-mistress, an actress (Eva Dahlbeck), it sets forth in motion a series of events that ends with a weekend at the actress's mother's (Naima Wifstrand) country estate where all the characters' romantic problems will be sorted out. One of the greatest sex comedies ever made, it is one of Ingmar Bergman's rare forays into romantic comedy. When I use the term "sex" comedy or "romantic" comedy, don't confuse it with a leering piece of wholesome family smut like Wilder's IRMA LA DOUCE or a Meg Ryan date movie. Bergman's elegant film is full of wit and insight into the romantic foibles of mortals floundering in the labyrinth that is "love". Absolutely flawless! Bergman's film served as the basis of the Stephen Sondheim musical A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. Impeccably acted by an ensemble cast that also includes Harriet Andersson, Margit Carlqvist, Jarl Kulle, Bjorn Bjelfvenstam, Ake Fridell and Bibi Andersson.

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