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‘Who is this Ingrid​ Bergman?’

Gilberto Perez: Stroheim and Rossellini

14 December 2000
by Arthur Lennig.
Kentucky, 514 pp., £25, December 1999, 0 8131 2138 8
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The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini 
by Tag Gallagher.
Da Capo, 802 pp., £16.95, October 1998, 0 306 80873 0
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... These images have an autonomy that makes them stronger and more important than any ideas one can attach to them.’ The best thing in Stromboli (1949), the first of Rossellini’s films with IngridBergman, is the documentary sequence of tuna fishing: the reaction shots of Bergman in which Rossellini attempts an articulation – the attachment of an idea to the experience – are clumsy, but ...

As time goes by

Brenda Maddox

2 July 1981
Ingrid BergmanMy Story 
by Ingrid Bergman and Alan Burgess.
Joseph, 480 pp., £9.50, November 1980, 0 7181 1946 0
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... There is a kind of woman who refuses dessert and then reaches over with her fork and eats most of her husband’s. Does it tell us something about Miss Bergman’s capacity for self-deception that she could neither leave Alan Burgess alone to write her biography nor sit down and write her own? Instead, they did it together, the actress and the author. Mr ...

The Kiss

Gaby Wood

9 February 1995
Jean Renoir: Letters 
edited by Lorraine LoBianco and David Thompson, translated by Craig Carlson, Natasha Arnoldi and Michael Wells.
Faber, 605 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 571 17298 9
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... this book, and they are both documentations of particular relationships. One is composed of extensive correspondences (both sides are published) with Robert Flaherty, Dudley Nichols, Clifford Odets, IngridBergman and François Truffaut. Many letters are exchanged, but since Renoir also actually saw these people, their friendship must have evolved in some space other than their writings, and a lot of ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Journey to Italy’

6 June 2013
Journey to Italy 
directed by Roberto Rossellini.
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... worse. As long as they were angry they were at least alive, or nearly; now they just seem deluded, trapped in a happy end they can’t want. The characters are Alex and Katherine, George Sanders and IngridBergman. They have come to Italy to sell a property they have inherited from the person they call Uncle Homer, a man who appears to have had the gift for enjoying himself that they so conspicuously ...
7 November 1985
Robert Capa 
by Richard Whelan.
Faber, 315 pp., £15, October 1985, 0 571 13661 3
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Robert Capa: Photographs 
edited by Cornell Capa and Richard Whelan.
Faber, 242 pp., £15, October 1985, 0 571 13660 5
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... a friendship. After her death, Capa, bending fact to the shape that suited him, said to the friends to whom he gave pictures of her that she’d been his wife. After the war, he had an affair with IngridBergman – but he did not like Hollywood and neither was willing to shape their life to fit that of the other. When the Second World War arrived he was prepared: with skills, an instinct for where ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Murder on the Orient Express’

30 November 2017
Murder on the Orient Express 
directed by Kenneth Brannagh.
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... true of Branagh’s film too. Here Michelle Pfeiffer gives an amazing performance as Lauren Bacall rather than the character Christie dreamed of. Penelope Cruz becomes an intriguing variant on IngridBergman, who was already not only playing against type but playing with type. She got an Oscar for failing to pretend to be a diffident, dim-witted Swedish woman full of guilt and religious zeal. The ...

In the dark

Philip Horne

1 December 1983
The Life of Alfred Hitchcock: The Dark Side of Genius 
by Donald Spoto.
Collins, 594 pp., £12.95, May 1983, 0 00 216352 7
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Howard Hawks, Storyteller 
by Gerald Mast.
Oxford, 406 pp., £16.50, June 1983, 0 19 503091 5
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... accident in the childhood of Uncle Charlie, the visiting killer of rich widows. A similar accident left Hitchcock with a faint scar on the chin. He also wrote the wondering, stunned reaction of IngridBergman in Notorious (1946) to the news of her father’s suicide (Hitchcock’s elder brother had died, probably by his own hand, in 1943). Such eloquently personal contributions illuminate the idea ...


Michael Wood

7 September 1995
The Moor’s Last Sigh 
by Salman Rushdie.
Cape, 437 pp., £15.99, September 1995, 0 224 03814 1
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... alias ‘Moor’. Old Moore’s Almanach flickers somewhere here (‘Old Moor will sigh no more’), as does Luis Buñuel’s dernier soupir (which appears as the Ultimo Suspiro petrol station). IngridBergman and Humphrey Bogart were wrong, we learn, to think that a sigh is just a sigh: a sigh could be almost anything, and the name Zogoiby is a version of the Arabic elzogoybi, ‘the unlucky one ...

Look beyond the lips

Bee Wilson: Hedy Lamarr

28 July 2011
Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film 
by Ruth Barton.
Kentucky, 281 pp., £25.95, May 2011, 978 0 8131 2604 3
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... by Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft’. Barton does a spirited job of making the case for Lamarr as a significant member of her generation of ‘European exiles to Hollywood’ along with Peter Lorre and IngridBergman. Carefully researched and zippily written, the book is the definitive companion to Lamarr’s films, from the glamour of Ziegfeld Girl (1941), in which Hedy sported a showstopping jewelled ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Inside Man’, ‘V for Vendetta’

11 May 2006
Inside Man 
directed by Spike Lee.
March 2006
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V for Vendetta 
directed by James McTeigue.
March 2006
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... clever plot (the movie is written by Russell Gewirtz) has bothered many viewers of this film, but there are two good reasons for not worrying about it. First, this is only a movie, as Hitchcock told IngridBergman when she was trying too hard to act like a real person; and second, some people know about the banker’s misdeeds even before they’ve seen the documentation. If we needed a third reason ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Lust, Caution’

24 January 2008
Lust, Caution 
directed by Ang Lee.
October 2007
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... setting up a collaborationist Chinese official for assassination, sits in a cinema and weeps copious tears, we know she will never be able to cry in this way outside the movie house. She is watching IngridBergman, in Intermezzo, I think, and no one in her film – either in Lust, Caution or in the fiction she is acting out in the story – will ever declare his love, or say anything, as directly as ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Peeping Tom’

2 December 2010
The Peeping Tom 
directed by Michael Powell.
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... grabbing some sort of object in defence – and freezing in terror seems the least likely. We are right to entertain such mundane suspicions – and not to tell ourselves, as Hitchcock memorably told IngridBergman, that it’s only a movie – because there is more, something we don’t see until late in the film. It’s not just that the tripod has a knife, it’s that the camera has a mirror mounted ...

On Fanny Howe

Ange Mlinko: Fanny Howe

4 October 2017
... to her and she sucks golden milk from it. Francis is a magnetic field that attracts all kinds of material to Howe’s imagination: from Roberto Rossellini’s film about his life she can touch on IngridBergman in Stromboli, pregnant and lost on an Aeolian island ‘in a continual state of eruption’, and in Europa ’51 as the bereaved mother who finds God. From Clare’s self-imposed hunger she ...

A Kind of Slither

Michael Wood: Woody Allen

27 April 2000
The Unruly Life of Woody Allen 
by Marion Meade.
Weidenfeld, 384 pp., £20, February 2000, 0 297 81868 6
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... and everything escalated from there. This is where the pristine paragon comes in. Meade needs Allen to stand on a pedestal so he can crash. He was ‘America’s favourite comedy saint’; ‘the IngridBergman of film comedians’. The allusion is to the American public’s surprise when it learned of Bergman’s affair with Roberto Rossellini, but the very idea of a Bergman among comedians is ...

Ages of the Train

Christopher Driver

8 January 1987
The Railway Station: A Social History 
by Jeffrey Richards and John MacKenzie.
Oxford, 440 pp., £15, April 1986, 0 19 215876 7
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The Railways of Britain: A Journey through History 
by Jack Simmons.
Macmillan, 255 pp., £15.95, May 1986, 0 333 40766 0
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... crowd the consciousness and erect – if a rather Victorian pun be permitted – a stationary backdrop to the shunting trains of life itself. When Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca was forsaken by IngridBergman and entrained at the Gare de Lyon, when Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard had their Brief Encounter in Carnforth refreshment room, their audiences were emotionally prepared for the settings ...

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