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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Hedda Gabler (1962)

Returning from her honeymoon, the wife (Ingrid Bergman) of an academic (Michael Redgrave) displays signs of dissatisfaction with her marriage and her state in life in general. Based on the classic 1891 play by Henrik Ibsen, the role of Hedda Gabler is one of the greatest parts for an actress in the theater. It ranks right up there with Blanche DuBois and Lady MacBeth and many great actresses have taken on the role from Eleonora Duse and Alla Nazimova to Maggie Smith and Glenda Jackson. Here, Ingrid Bergman takes on the part. Hedda is a tricky part to play as we're never sure why she behaves the way she does, what makes her tick. One can surmise that in pre-feminist times, she's frustrated playing the wife and sees her best days behind her as she settles into the dull routine of a professor's spouse. Bergman is wonderful here as she paces around the room like a wound up cat, snapping at her husband or hissing at an old school chum (Ursula Jeans). This is a woman for whom control is everything and when it is finally wrested from her, it's disastrous. Directed by Alex Segal. With Ralph Richardson and Trevor Howard.

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