Smiles of a Summer Night

Smiles of a Summer Night ★★★★

You could call it a screwball comedy, but it's too dark for that label to stick. I'm not even convinced that everyone wound up with the right person. But it's really funny, and it's photographed with a lovely sense of light and darkness, and oh my the acting. Margit Carlqvist was the standout for me, conveying a sense of wickedly smart danger, but it's a stunning cast all around.

I continue to be amused by Bergman's attitude towards women. The four women in this movie are all standing on their own little pedestals, each in their own way, and I am not convinced he completely understands any of them any more than he understands the earthy groom. There's something in those last couple of scenes -- the Count's reluctance to commit, Egerman's wounded demeanor -- that makes me think that Bergman doesn't trust love. His world is one where you have to tug a man's ears to make him agree to marriage.

And, to quote:

I shall be faithful for at least seven eternities of pleasure, eighteen false smiles and fifty-seven tender whisperings without meaning.

I shall remain faithful until the big yawn do us part.

In short, I shall remain faithful in my way.

That's great dialogue, but it's not heartwarming. I suppose it's a little bit screwball.

Oh, and a note for context: I got the Criterion Bergman box today, and am at least at first going to tackle it in order, with one skip because S. and I are watching Wild Strawberries for Boofest 2023.

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