Eclipse Series 46
Ingrid Bergman is a genuine Hollywood icon thanks to her co-starring role in Casablanca and her collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock. While many are aware of her later films, including the challenging Italian pictures directed by her husband Robert Rossellini, as well as her eventual pairing with the other famous Swedish Bergman, Ingmar, not as much attention is paid to her pre-Hollywood career. For a short period, Ingrid Bergman made her name as an actress in Sweden, and six of her m films from her home country are now collected in the Ingrid Bergman's Swedish Years boxed set from Eclipse--giving many of us our first chance to see a screen legend developing her craft in the earliest stages of her endeavors.

The set starts out with smaller roles where she is a big supporting player before developing into lead roles where it's clear she was becoming a leading star. It isn't difficult to see why Bergman went on to carry entire productions with her presence: she shines through as a star in the making at each turn.

6 x DVD5 | NTSC 4:3 | 520 minutes | 23.6 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Svenska
Subtitles: English
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance

The first film in the set, The Count of the Old Town (1935) was filmed in Stockholm. It is an early example of Bergman's comedic timing and sensibilities. This is the most charming and lighthearted film in the collection.

In the story, Bergman plays a young chambermaid who starts to fall in love with a fellow young man named Ake (Edvin Adolphson), who might just be a jewel thief. There is also a charming cast of zany supporting characters attempting to party with some booze during their country's days of prohibition. These goofball characters add some enlivened spirit to the romance and mystery surrounding this early comedy.

Directed by Sigurd Wallen and Edvin Adolphson, who provide the film with a surprisingly robust pacing for the-period. The film is entertaining and offers a very early glimpse of the blossoming talent of Bergman. Though it was just a supporting part, she shines through radiantly.

In Walpurgis Night (1935), directed by Gustaf Edgren, Lena (Ingrid Bergman) is considering getting an abortion as she falls head over heels in love with her boss, Johan (Lars Hanson) . Causing controversy in Sweden upon its original release for having a frank (for the time) approach to discussing abortion on film, the story unfolds with dramatic turns.

Walpurgis Night is perhaps most noteworthy for exploring a topic rarely depicted on film back in the early 1930's. It begins Bergman's turn from smaller to larger supporting roles. Situations unfold with one dramatic sequence leading to another. It's a serious dramatic part for Bergman, who begins to showcase her wider range as an actress.

With Intermezzo (1936), which is more well recognized as a title for its later Hollywood remake (which also starred Bergman). This entry is the first of three films in this collection directed by Gustaf Molander. The film is a romance starring Bergman as Anita Hoffman. It explores an affair between a violinist and pianist.

Bergman flexes her acting chops more as she begins her longer running collaborations with director Molander. Though the film is less impressive overall when compared to the preceding films in the set, it does offer Bergman's first leading role. She starts to expand her horizons more in this early lead performance.

In Dollar (1938), the second film in the set directed by Gustaf Molander, Julia (Ingrid Bergman) and husband Kurt (Georg Rydeberg) disagree with one another to such a large degree that their unnatural balance finds a seismic shift when they decide to stay together at a ski lodge. What starts out as a normal visit turns into something darker when the couple runs into other couples staying together at the lodge. Each couple begins a weekend full of disagreements and crossed flirtations. The film is a situational comedy-of-errors as it explores the romantic relationships of these lodge occupants.

A Woman's Face (1938) offers the biggest drama turn for Bergman in this collection. Bergman herself was worried about how audiences would respond to the part. She plays a significantly darker character, Anna Holm, a blackmailer who has a disfigured face. The story explores this much more serious storyline with surprise turns when Anna must go undercover in order to be a nanny for a wealthy family. As the story develops, her face is restored and Anna discovers new aspects of her personality. Directed by Gustaf Molander, this film takes many surprising turns along the gravely road of its darker storyline.

June Night (1940) is the best film in the set as it stands out as the most accomplished. Bergman stars as Sara, a young woman who gets shot by her lover. After her lover goes through trial, she begins life under a different name and identity, living at a new house with fellow residents. She begins a new romance and attempts starting over.

This is a surprising romantic drama that explores a modern romance. Out of all of the films in the set, June Night offers Bergman's best performance and the clearest indication of her growing star power which would carry into her future Hollywood career and her collaborations with Roberto Rossellini. Directed by Per Lindberg, the film has the most compelling narrative and Bergman delivers a fantastic turn.

Download Eclipse Series 46: Ingrid Bergman's Swedish Years: The Count of the Old Town (1935), Walpurgis Night (1935), Intermezzo (1936), Dollar (1938), A Woman's Face (1938), June Night (1940) 6 x DVD5 Criterion Collection: