Wednesday, 29 August 2012

"I Didn't Choose Acting, It Chose Me." Happy Birthday Ingrid Bergman


Dear Book. Ever since I was a child I loved the theatre but I never thought that maybe I could become an actress. It was in the fall of 1929 that I realised that I wanted to give myself absolutely to the theatre. Uncle Gunnar said I should be an actress; there was no question about it. He told me to learn more poems, and it was then that I decided to the muses I must go, to Thalia, one of the goddesses of the theatre.
I dreamed how one day I would stand at the Oscar Theatre and the public would sit there and see this new Sarah Berndhart. I never talked to anyone much about my plans. I kept them to myself. I know I dreamed that perhaps one day I might be able to play against Gösta Ekman, who was my ideal.
Papa wanted me to go in for Opera because he liked music so much. But I don't think there is so much difference between opera and theatre. I am sure he would not have forbidden me to venture along the thorny road to the heaven of stars.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY INGRID BERGMAN (29th August 1915-29th August 1982)
Winner of three Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Emmy Awards and a Tony Award. She defied the type-cast system of Hollywood. She acted in Swedish (her native language), German, English, Italian and French. She frequently topped most-popular-star polls, not even a "scandal" with Roberto Rossellini could dim her star. Her career spanned fifty years and she is still an inspiration and role model to modern audiences. Happy birthday, Ingrid Bergman.

Today is both the birthday and the death day of - in my opinion - possibly the most talented actress ever, Ingrid Bergman. She started as a lead in small-time Swedish films and worked her way up to the pinacle of success as a Hollywood idol. So today as a tribute to her I just wanted to say how much she means to me and why she's so special.

The first Ingrid Bergman film I watched was of course - Casablanca. My mum and dad waited a while to show it to me because they wanted to be sure that I'd really understand it and be able to get everything it was about. That must have been about two years ago now, and I haven't looked back since. Unfortunately, in England it isn't very easy to acquire Ingy films outside of the regular Casablanca, Notorious and Casablanca. Granted you can get some of her later films, but unlike Katharine Hepburn, there isn't a great deal of her filmography available. I've tried to get as many as possible, and I'm still collecting. Recently I got the American import of Ingrid Bergman's Swedish film collection. Including three of her early 1930s Swedish films. I haven't watched any yet - but as a celebratory act today - I'm going to watch one.

I'm sure I've said this before on here, but as an actress, Ingrid Bergman is my inspiration. She has a subtle kind of vulnerability and naturalness but still manages to combine this with "hamming it up" as som might call it. I admire her versatility and eagerness to look for roles outside of her box. Reading her biography has made me feel like I know her even more. 

I admire her not only as an actress but as a person. She was kind, considerate, loving, empathetic but still had a (if you'll excuse the expression) "low bullshit tolerance". When the scandal about her affair with Roberto Rossellini came out, she felt guilty and upset but she was sure at the time that this was right for her. She didn't deserve the flack that she got for that. But she still rode it out well. She had much unhappiness in her life. She lost her mother at two, and her father at thirteen. Part of the reason I think she made a few bad choices in men was because she had no family guidance. She needed a father figure.

I don't know whether I've been able to put my admiration for her into words but anyway.
So there you go! Here is my recommendation for a great Ingrid Bergman day schedule. (I hear TCM has a full day of her for Summer Under The Stars but I don't have TCM *cries* so here's what I'd do to emulate)
  1. For Whom The Bell Tolls (1939)
  2. Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1942)
  3. Casablanca (1943)
  4. Spellbound (1945)
  5. Notorious (1946)
  6. The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness (1958)
  7. Goodbye Again (1962)
  8. Gaslight (1944)
  9. Journey To Italy (1957)
  10. Indiscreet (1958)

Bette

2 comments:

cinemarion said...

Very nice tribute.

Anonymous said...

I love "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness". I first watched it as a little boy in Clark Air Force Base, Republic of Philippines back in 1971. Now that I'm older, I watch the facial expressions and subtle body language portrayed by Ingrid Bergman. I realize today how talented of an actress she was, playing opposite of the great actors, Robert Donat and Curt Jurgens. I am sad that she is gone, but I am so happy that the world once had Ingrid Bergman. That you for your website and thoughts.

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~Bette