But since we admire this great actress so, and are duly inspired by author Charlotte Chandler’s 2007 biography, Ingrid Bergman: A Personal Biography (Simon & Schuster) — as well as the most welcome issue of The Criterion Collection’s new and very much improved DVD renderings of Stromboli (1950), Europe ’51 (1952) and most especially, Journey To Italy (1954), Bergman’s work directed by lover-husband Roberto Rossellini — we decided to come up another reader challenge with different and (slightly) tougher questions.
The latest Bergman quiz questions can be found on yesterday’s blog, Monday Quiz — INGRID BERGMAN Tougher This Time? Just scroll down and check out the 10 queries.
This time we adopted a true-false format to simplify things. You may not have known all the answers but we’re betting that you scored correctly on at least a few. Ok, here we go with those much-awaited answers:
1) False. Bergman regarded Casablanca pretty much as a big studio programmer of little potential and the part of Ilsa as undernourished and unchallenging. She was uncomfortable with the movie’s on-the-fly approach to its script, including its all-important ending. Years later she confessed, “Now, I understand. I was wrong.” Was she ever.
2) False. Bergman was personally very fond of Charles Boyer, and admired his work as an actor. It’s true that in 1946’s Arch of Triumph, Boyer, markedly shorter than Bergman, had to stand on a box during love scenes to compensate. “I was taller than Boyer, but he was such a great actor that as he played his part, he grew taller,” she said.
(Coming attractions: we’ll be devoting one of star-of-the-week blogs to this fascinating French actor in the coming week. Stay tuned.)
3) False. Bergman may have had her share of Hollywood lovers but her Casablanca costar wasn’t one of them. “The relationship between the two actors was considerably less passionate than what audiences saw on the screen,” writes Chandler. Bergman said she kissed Humphrey Bogart “but I never got to know him.”
4) False. After appearing in a little more than a handful of Hollywood films including Casablanca, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Gaslight, Spellbound and Notorious, Bergman was a top box office star. By 1946, she was Hollywood’s No. 1 female above-the-liner. She was BIG.
5) False. The 1939 David O. Zelznick version of Intermezzo, Bergman’s Hollywood debut, was based on the Swedish version she costarred in three years prior. Both versions are interesting in their own ways. No “ripoff” involved.
6) False. The aloof Garbo and the then shy star-on-the-rise Bergman met perhaps twice in their lifetimes. They were never friends. The two Swedes just didn’t care all that much for each other.
7) True. Bergman was deeply impressed by Rossellini’s signature film, Rome: Open City, as well as his Paisan, both released just after Italy was liberated at the end of World War II. Bergman was “thrilled” by both movies, and wished to know more about the person who created them. The rest is history. That’s them pictured above.
8) True. Although George Sanders wasn’t “badgered” by Rossellini as he was ignored by the director during the making of Journey To Italy — little rehearsal, lines invented at the last minute. Bergman recalled that Sanders “just broke down…this big, strong man, so sure of himself as an actor, crying like a child. He just couldn’t adjust to (Rossellini’s) method.” Ironically, Sanders gave what is perhaps a career-best performance in the movie.
9) False. Bergman was working on a stage production at the time she discovered the lump, but did not seek immediate medical attention. The cancer eventually spread and claimed her life on Aug. 29, 1982, her 67th birthday.
10) False. Bergman prepared an elaborate dish of her favorite crayfish. Alfred Hitchcock took one look, and declared it “disgusting.” A small steak, potato and salad were hastily rustled up and provided the director as a last minute substitute.