Friday, June 7, 2019


“[It] possesses a distinctly playful atmosphere and carefree cadences.” [The Criterion Collection catalogue]

No, it most certainly does not. All These Women (1964) is a limp, desultory farce. Apparently, Ingmar Bergman, one of the most sophisticated spiritual artists in film—the equal of the great, dour existentialists in the other arts—decided to write and direct this disoriented, enervated gimmick in order to make extra money. Bergman and Sven Nykvist developed a pastel color palette for the movie, which gives the nonsense onscreen far more visual depth than it merits.

The red and the black.
All These Women is like watching discarded reels of Jacques Tati, Woody Allen, and Blake Edwards, without any of their gift for low farce. This movie gives you a chance to see some of Europe’s best actors embarrass themselves—including Jarl Kulle as the reptilian critic who invades his idol’s manor house, Eva Dahlbeck as the wife of the cellist, Bibi Andersson as the cellist’s mistress, and the sexy Harriet Andersson as the gamine housemaid (she’s like a Swedish Joan Blondell). Kulle moves from one lady to the next in the Continental style; it’s a love round interspersed with witless dialogue like this: “He has such wonderful fingering. Isn’t that what it’s called?” Have we piqued your interest yet?

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen another movie by a master filmmaker that’s both stylishly pompous and hamfisted. I certainly never expected to see a pie thrown in someone’s face in a Bergman film. But if this knucklehead production had happened on the stage, I think people would have thrown tomatoes.

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