|Harriet Andersson in Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) d. Ingmar Bergman|
Smiles of Summer Night (1955)
d. Ingmar Bergman
Criterion Collection #237
Important to understand about Ingmar Bergman's pre break-out work is that he spent 7 months a year as the director of the Malmo Community Theater. Then, in the summer months, he would make a movie using the same actors. The concept of "summer" dominates the titles of Bergman's 50s works: Summer with Monika (1953), Summer Interlude (1951) and of course, Smiles of a Summer Night.
Smiles of a Summer Night came out just before the Seventh Seal (1957) so it was fairly easy for newly turned on Bergman fans to go back and take in Smiles of a Summer Night, thus it obtained a kind of retroactive/revival style popularity. This phenomenon is discussed in the included DVD extra, a conversation between familiar Bergman scholar Peter Cowrie and producer Jorn Dunner. Cowrie points out that while Smiles of a Summer Night achieved European notoriety by winning a prize at Cannes, it didn't happen in North America.
Smiles is essentially a sex farce- with clear references to Shakespeare and the larger Scandinavian concept of the passionate, brief summer. The parlor drama scenery is very much something that Bergman would eventually leave behind, but he wasn't bad at the quasi-Victorian style.