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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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... in a realist novel. If Stroheim was the leading realist of the silent era, the most influential film realism since the Second World War flourished in Italy. With Open City (1945) and Paisan (1946) RobertoRossellini ushered in the movement that came to be known as neo-realism. Unlike Stroheim’s, his is not a realism of meaning but of reticence, of the refusal to compel reality into sense. Tag ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Journey to Italy’

6 June 2013
Journey to Italy 
directed by Roberto Rossellini.
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... The two characters at the centre of Rossellini’s Journey to Italy, seen in a restored print at the BFI Southbank, are so nasty to each other in their half-polite way that you long for them to flare up, throw things, become violent, turn the ...

As time goes by

Brenda Maddox

2 July 1981
Ingrid Bergman: My Story 
by Ingrid Bergman and Alan Burgess.
Joseph, 480 pp., £9.50, November 1980, 0 7181 1946 0
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... Miss Bergman wants something from her readers. ‘lt could never happen today,’ she says in effect, referring to the world-shattering scandal of 1948, when she bolted Hollywood to run off with RobertoRossellini, leaving her husband (a Swedish doctor), her young daughter and her place as the world’s most successful and virtuous film star. It couldn’t, could it? she pleads winsomely. Certainly ...

A Particular Way of Looking

J. Hoberman: NeoRealismo

19 November 2019
NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy 1932-60 
edited by Enrica Viganò.
Prestel, 349 pp., £49.99, September 2018, 978 3 7913 5769 0
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... control.Neorealism was further distinguished in being a 20th-century-ism in which the cinema took a leading role. The Surrealists were great, if eccentric, cinephiles, but the leading Neorealists – RobertoRossellini, Luchino Visconti and Vittorio De Sica – were professional filmmakers. The novelist Cesare Pavese went so far as to compare De Sica, perhaps ironically, with Thomas Mann, as the author ...

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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... can crash. He was ‘America’s favourite comedy saint’; ‘the Ingrid Bergman of film comedians’. The allusion is to the American public’s surprise when it learned of Bergman’s affair with RobertoRossellini, but the very idea of a Bergman among comedians is outlandish, in part, of course, because none of this is true: many people thought Allen was funny, but no one imagined he was a saint, or ...


Wayne Koestenbaum: Tennessee Williams

4 October 2007
Tennessee Williams: Notebooks 
edited by Margaret Bradham Thornton.
Yale, 828 pp., £27.50, February 2007, 978 0 300 11682 3
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... and ‘Miss Gide’. A similarly hybrid effect obtains when, in a passage from 1949, Williams brings his ‘sore ass’ into linguistic contiguity with his dinner companions Ingrid Bergman and RobertoRossellini: ‘Bergman-Rossolini [sic] rushes – disappointing – sore ass – we all went to Quirinale afterwards. Nobody even seemed to notice Ingrid was there – May leave for Capri tomorrow if ...

Home’s for suicides

Lucie Elven: Alfred Hayes’s Hollywood

18 July 2019
The Girl on the Via Flaminia 
by Alfred Hayes.
Penguin, 151 pp., £7.99, August 2018, 978 0 241 34232 9
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My Face for the World to See 
by Alfred Hayes.
Penguin, 119 pp., £7.99, May 2018, 978 0 241 34230 5
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In Love 
by Alfred Hayes.
Penguin, 120 pp., £7.99, January 2018, 978 0 241 30713 7
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... provided entertainment to the troops. Italy, despite the deprivations of war, was exhilarating. He learned Italian and made friends with a group of screenwriters that included Klaus Mann, Fellini and RobertoRossellini. Between shifts showing soldiers round the museums, they would work on movie scripts at black-market trattorias. By some accounts, Hayes collaborated on the screenplay of Bicycle Thieves ...

Pink and Bare

Bee Wilson: Nicole Kidman

8 February 2007
Nicole Kidman 
by David Thomson.
Bloomsbury, 311 pp., £18.99, September 2006, 0 7475 7710 2
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... possible. Her decision to make Dogville by Lars von Trier is one example – Thomson compares it to Bergman’s decision to give up a lucrative Selznick contract ‘to go to Italy to make a film with RobertoRossellini, because she believed in his startling neo-realist ways’. Unlike Bergman, though, Kidman is not ‘a wreck through and through’. She ‘is a cover girl, too, and someone who should ...


Iain Sinclair: London’s Lost Cinemas

6 November 2014
... lived on the barren volcanic island invaded by the original film crew. Folk memories of the Roman diva Anna Magnani, who set up the production as a spoiler against Stromboli (which her former lover, RobertoRossellini, was shooting on a neighbouring rock with Ingrid Bergman), were challenged. The screening at the Italian Cultural Institute, attended by Muriel Walker, who had been part of the production ...

The Raging Peloton

Iain Sinclair: Boris Bikes

20 January 2011
... induction into political life. Boy Peter on a Hovis bicycle! That was the madeleine moment in an interminable chronicle of not-saying, arcane rituals of grazing and trouser-changing unmatched since RobertoRossellini made The Taking by Power by Louis XIV for French television. Triggered by an archive clip of his maternal grandfather, Herbert Morrison, another ennobled socialist cabinet minister ...

I Could Sleep with All of Them

Colm Tóibín: The Mann Family

6 November 2008
In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story 
by Andrea Weiss.
Chicago, 302 pp., £14.50, May 2008, 978 0 226 88672 5
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... of Poland was reading the Bible to the ex-champagne salesman.’ Erika and Klaus were increasingly at sea in the new Germany. Klaus began to work in films, collaborating briefly and painfully with RobertoRossellini. Someone who worked with him in these years said: ‘He was a restless man. He had so many ideas and so much energy . . . I don’t think he could sit still for two minutes. He had a ...

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