Thursday, August 29, 2013

Movie Monday (a few days late): The Ingrid Bergman Birthday Edition

Here's a bit of movie trivia for you: Ingrid Bergman died on her birthday, August 29.

And more trivia: although Bergman played both a nun (in "The Bells of Saint Mary's" (1945) and a saint, in "Joan of Arc" (1948), she was unable to get film work in the United States for a number of years because she unapologetic about an affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini and the child she gave birth to out of wedlock as a result of that affair. Ed Sullivan refused to have her as a guest on his variety show and she was denounced on the floor of the US Senate for having a child without being married.

US culture has changed a lot since the middle of the 20th century. That is for the better, mostly. Oh, people like to get moralistic about things that celebrities do from time to time - the Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke performance at the MTV Video Music Awards is only the latest thing that people are pretending to be shocked about - but I can't remember the last time anyone got upset because someone in the entertainment industry had a baby without being married. And this is all to the good; as I've commented here before, a celebrity's private life should be just that - private. It's hard to believe, locking back, that there was such a violent reaction to Bergman's personal choices.

Bergman was a wonderful, graceful actress. She won three Academy Awards, out of something like seven nominations throughout her career. In 1945 she was named Best Actress for her role in "Gaslight" (1944). She won again as Best Actress as "Anastasia" (1956). She won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974). Her other nominations came for her roles in "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (1943), "The Bells of Saint Mary's", "Joan of Arc", and "Autumn Sonata" (1978). Only Katherine Hepburn has won more Academy Awards, and only four others (and only one other woman, Meryl Streep, have won as many).

Here is a clip from "Casablanca" (1942), which is probably the film Bergman is best-known for in the United States. She did not receive a nomination for playing Ilsa despite the film itself winning a Best Picture Oscar:

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