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How Important Was Ingrid Bergman In Cinema


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How important was Ingrid Bergman as an actress? Many say she was probably as good as Kate. Kate could do comedy and I don't think I ever saw Bergman in any comedy, but as far as drama is concern, which to me is where a real actress shows her talent, I would have to say, she was the best that ever lived. A few years ago, the AFI rated Bogart/Hepburn as the best that ever existed. On my list I would have to say Brando/Bergman did it better than anyone else up to date.

What's your opinion?

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Regarding comedy and Miss Bergman, make a note to rent Cactus Flower or Indiscreet, both comedies and she's quite good in both. However, I understand its really harder to do comedy than drama because of timing, and the way certain lines have to be said.


Instead of 'Importance in Cinema', I believe you mean 'What Caliber of actress' but in regard to importance, I think that hollywoods' acceptance of her after her self imposed exile after the birth of Isabella Rossellini, daughter of director, Roberto Rossellini, while she was legally married to Lars Lindstrom (?), not to mention leaving her daughter Pia with Lars, paved the way for other actresses like Sophia Loren, and more to 'get away' with messing around with their co-stars/directors like Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal.


I think she has an unusual face. The camera is not always kind to her. She needed certain lighting, and posing, otherwise her features looked kind of mannish or not delicate. Yet with the proper elements, she did look delicate. I don't know that much about it, but if anybody understands what I'm saying, please help.



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She's of utmost importance in My Cinema. She was so gorgeous, that accent of hers was so sexy, she could have told me to do anything! And a good actress too, what else could you hope for? I have no idea why TCM doesn't play her films more often. I think there should be a B(ergman)CM :-)


By the way, I'm a big Ingrid Bergman fan :-)

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No I completely understand your point. I've heard many actors who said that it is harder to do comedy than drama. I've never completely understood why. I'm an actor myself and I've had trouble in the past doing comedy mostly because,I don't go for cheap laugh or try to make the audience laugh out of pity. I think Grants and Ball did the truest comedy ever seen in cinema. Years after them, comedy seen in cinema became fluke--the audience never really laugh full heartedly. In that respect, true comedy is hard, but since that is rarely accomplished successfully in cinema, I would have to say that drama is harder by most actors' standards. As for Mrs Bergman, I know about her husband's trouble with the USA government, [Nixon forbade him from working in the USA for reason I know not].It was not that Bergman looked mannish or a tad masculine, she simply had a presence that commanded respect and attention. She looked strong. Looking strong in any area of cinema is an absolute plus to being a successful performer. Kate herself did not look like an innocent little chipmunk. She looked a bit masculine herself. If you look at some of old MGM footage, you can see Kate doing cartwheels and acting very much mannish.


Somehow, whenever movie critics talk about great actresses in Hollywood, they often mention these two ladies as being the greatest that ever lived. I think they were very much alike. Perhaps, being a tad masculine was how they both succeeded so tremendously in Hollywood. But regardless of who was better than whom, there's something about watching Kate seducing Grant in "Bringing Up Baby" that I don't think Bergam could be successful at doing. Same could be say about how Bergman's face lit up when she first saw Rick at the bar in "Casablanca". I don't think Kate could fully express the ingredients necessary for that single shot without being too Katish to Bogart



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I think part of Bergman's success was that the movie going public thought she was accessible as opposed to Garbo who on screen came off much more aloof. Bergman came across as the type of men wanted to go out with and women wanted to be friends with. She wasn't an exquisite beauty but in the right light she could look ravishingly beautiful.


I don't know that audiences would have bought Kate in Bergman's role in Casablanca because due to Kate's persona, she would have decided for herself whether or not to get on the plane with Victor and not let Bogie make the decision for her.


Bergman was more chameleon like than Hepburn, able to lose herself in roles and characters easier than Hepburn.


As for Bergman making it easier for other actors to fool around, I'm not sure. Actors have been having on-set affairs since the silent days. Loretta Young had a notorious affair with Gable on the set of "Call of the Wild" and hid the evidence, so to speak, by adopting the child that was already hers. Gable had an affair with Lana Turner which is one of the reasons that Carole Lombard was in a rush to get home from the War Bond tour.


Bergman was condemned on the floor of the Senate and her pregnancy and choice of staying with Rossellini was largely condemned by moralists all over the country.


Her exile, I don't know that self imposed is the way to describe it because she was basically told she wasn't bankable as a star by the studios who were afraid of the public backlash, happened while "The Fountainhead" was being made and her public comdenation still very fresh but that didn't stop Cooper and Neal from having a torrid affair.


When Bergman returned to Hollywood there was no guarantee that "Anastasia" would be a hit. Everyone was holding their breath as it could have gone either way.


One of the factors that gets little notice anymore is that it was the changing morals of the American public that allowed them to accept Bergman back and make "Anastasia" her comeback movie rather than the last movie she made.


American men had been to war in Europe where the morals were very different than here in the states. American women had gone to work in factories and had their lives changed by the experience.


While the 1950s is generally viewed as a stultifying era of men in gray flannel suits and housewives living lives of quiet desperation, the country was in the beginning stages of throwing off the older moral code by which Americans had lived under for more years than most could remember.


So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think Americans changing attitudes toward sex and such had a much bigger impact on the "anything goes" attitude. Another factor was that the studio system was becoming obsolete adn all publicity could no longer be controlled by the studio.


So, in the end, I don't think it was Ingrid's fault for all that came after. I think she paid an extremely high price for her choices.


It could have gone the other way and probably would have had her affair with Rossellini happened before WW2.

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I like Ingrid. She was an unconventional beauty. I mean personally I think sometimes she looks rather manly, but yet she managed to come off as really beautiful and she held her own with top names in the business. She did what she wanted to and didn't ask for appologies, like when she was ostracized for running off with Roberto Rosselini. She seemed very level headed and didn't let her fame run her life, which is rare.

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I think you misread the bit I wrote about Anastasia.


Actually, Anastasia was Bergman's comeback film. People showed up, paid their money and saw and accepted her again as an actress. She was nominated for the Oscar and won her second Academy Award. She continued to work in films and later television up until her death.

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First let me say that I thought Ingrid Bergman was a fine actress and a great star. I have seen many if not most of her movies. She was great in ?Gaslight? and ?The Inn of the Sixth Happiness? and ?Murder on the Orient Express??..


What backfired with her was that she was built up as a ?saint? in the press and the Hollywood publicity machine in the 40?s.

She was ?the innocent victim? in ?Gaslight? and won an Oscar.

She had played a nun in ?The Bells of St. Mary?s? and then played Joan of Arc, a real saint!!

I remember seeing a movie magazine in 1948 all about her family ? about 6 pages of photographs showing how loving her husband and daughter and her were and ?their perfect homelife.


Then, she went to Italy to make a movie with Roberto Rossellini, the new wunderkind of movies after his success with ?Open City? and Anna Magnani.

She left her husband and daughter in LA because this was to be a 3 week shoot ? it was fast in Italy, no star treatment until later when ?Quo Vadis? shot there 2 years later.

Magnani and Rossellini were living together at that time and were a highly publicized couple; Magnani thought they were going to be married.

Rumours started appearing about Ingrid and Roberto and were denied, denied, denied.

Then, Magnani gave an interview to visiting Louella Parsons stating that Ingrid Bergman had broken up her ?marriage? and was now pregnant.

Ingrid Bergman gave birth to Robertino in 1950. Not Isabella; she and her sister, Isotta, came later.

Ingrid was ruined and stayed in Europe for the next decade.

Ironically, Anna Magnani was brought over to Hollywood and won an Oscar for ?The Rose Tattoo? the year before Ingrid won for ?Anastasia?.

?Anastasia? was not made in Hollywood, but in Paris and Bergman did not pick up her Oscar in person; Cary Grant did.

Ingrid only returned to America in the 60?s and lived in New York City, never LA again.

She really actually continued to live in Paris most of the rest of her life.


I?ve always thought Ingrid Bergman was a wonderful example of an actress who became a Hollywood star and took on different roles and succeeded. She had the kind of career most actresses would want.

Her private life no one would want. I don?t think even Ingrid wanted it; except for her children.



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About Lana Turner and Clark Gable:


I once overheard Lana at a party after Clark Gable's death saying that she never had an affair with 'Mr. Gable'..... It was all rumours.



And about Ingrid Bergman being denounced in Congress:


She was apparently quite upset about that and about the Vatican also labelling her immoral.

But, when Zsa Zsa Gabor was called "the most expensive courtesan since Madame De Pompadour", she loved it and laughed to the press, "Isn't it silly when some of my finest furs come from some Senators!"......


Love that Zsa Zsa......




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  • 9 months later...

Ingrid was the greatest and most beautiful actress that ever lived. She spoke five languages and acted in all of them. Did Kate Hepburn ever do that? Bette Davis? Audrey Hepburn?

NO! Lawrence J. Quick in Movies in Boston said this of Ingrid Bergman:

"Miss Bergman is unquestionably one of the finest actresses who have ever graced the screen.

Hers is a quality so unique, so individual and so distinctive that it will never be duplicated.

Nature and Art broke the mold after fusing and fashioning the uniqueness of Ingrid Bergman."

HOW IMPORTANT WAS SHE IN CINEMA? You must be joking? She was the BEST and

the GREATEST. Enough said. (AS far as comedy, watch her in Indiscreet with Cary

Grant and also Cactus Flower with Walter Matthou).

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Vecchiolarry, thank you for the correction of which one of Bergman's children was born 'out-of-wedlock' to cause the world's furor (Robertino NOT Isabella).


I am a big fan of Bergman's having seen her Broadway in "Captain Brassbound's Conversion" with Pernell ( "Bonanza" ) Roberts. I wasn't crazy about the play. I just wanted to actually see Ingrid Bergman in the flesh. I'm so glad I did.


I saw a photo exhibit of her a coupla months ago at NYC's Scandanavia House. (Garbo had an exhibit there as well). As I looked at the home movies of Bergman as a child, and walked around and looked at her photographs, I felt it slightly harder to breath. Her beauty. Her beauty simply took my breath away). I have not much to add to what you all have said about Bergman save one thing. There are no qualifications on her beauty. She was absolutely and simply beautiful. I'm not talking Hedy Lamarr beautiful 'cuz that's beyond beyond.


But think Bergman in "Spellbound" and "Notorious" and of course, the iconic "Casablanca." She didn't need any special lighting or makeup. She didn't look mannish, manly or masculine. Yeah, she was a big woman (5'9" or so) but masculine...not in the least. There's a short that TCM runs on Ingrid Bergman that I believe Patricia Clarkson narrates. There's a shot of Bergman laughing as the prostitute in "Dr. Jekyll..." that is incredibly sexy.


The first date I ever had with a boy was as high school junior. He took me to the movies. We saw "Cactus Flower" with that girl from "Laugh-in."


Imagine walking with her, talking with her, having her whisper in your ear. Ingrid Bergman is simply and absolutely beautiful, period.

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