50 Reasons to Love Ingrid Bergman

Three Enchanting Ladies


Yesterday, it was Ingrid’s 102nd birthday as well as her 35th death anniversary. I had a very busy day so didn’t had time to publish anything, but today I’m back with50 REASONS TO LOVE INGRID BERGMAN. I first wanted to do 102 reasons, but as much as I love her, it was a bit unrealistic! So I went with 50 instead. These are a variety of what I feel about her personnally, stuff I’ve read, movies I’ve seen etc. Even my mother participated to this list and she had great things to say about Ingrid! 🙂 Maybe some of these things will sound a bit repetitive, but I hope not too much! If there are some reasons you think should have been on this list, please don’t hesitate to mention them in the comment section (sometimes there’s obvious stuff that I’m just not thinking about!).

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Journey to Italy (Written by Carole MacLeod, Guest at The Wonderful World of Cinema)

The following review of Journey to Italy has been written by Carole MacLeod, guest at The Wonderful World of Cinema, for the 3rd Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon.



Thank you for letting me be part of the third annual Ingrid Bergman blogathon.

I’ve been intrigued by Ingrid since I was ten, and was given a book Called Screen Goddesses. It was about many actresses: both the Hepburns, Audrey and Kate, Kim Novak, Mae West, the incomparable Rita Hayworth-and, of course, Ingrid Bergman.

The profile for Ingrid stated,” she didn’t need a ton of goo on her face…” needless to say, it’s a book that’s typical of its time, and doesn’t go into great deal about the nuances of her films. But it did have a complete filmography of her work and some really beautiful pictures. I didn’t quite appreciate Ingrid’s beauty then-I was more interested in Garbo, dressed in outrageous lame, or Jeanne Eagles, being chased by Jeff Chandler.

Fortunately I reread the book when I was a few years older and became intrigued by Ingrid. There was no TCM and no internet, but when CBC announced it would be showing Casablanca as a late night feature I was on the case. I stayed up late and was rewarded by seeing Ingrid’s work on film. I was hooked by her beauty. Her grace, her poise, her accent, her ability to make a scene come alive. How was it possible she only had two men interested in her? Everyone should have bowed down to worship her!

In November of 1946 Ingrid brought her interpretation of Joan of Arc to the stage. One evening there was a small technical problem and she thought the audience would laugh at her, because she fell while wearing a suit of armour. She writes, “ I learned at that moment that the audience doesn’t want anything to happen to you-they’re sorry for
you; they’re on your side; they don’t laugh at you; they weep for you. Yes, they laugh when it’s funny-when you ask them to laugh-but when it’s serious they hold their breath waiting for you to take hold again.”

With this attitude in mind I can understand how perplexing the rest of the 1940’s and 1950’s must have been to her. Ingrid approached the director Roberto Rosellini, suggesting they could find a project to work on. The project was Stromboli, and the two began an affair that shocked the world. Their marriage produced three children, and lasted for years. For the readers who are interested in this part of Ingrid’s story I recommend the Criterion Collection “ Ingrid Bergman In Her Own Words” which was made to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth. It has extensive home movie footage and long interviews with all four of Ingrid’s children. They describe their parents’
relationship, both in life and on film, better than anyone can-plus, this post is about Journey to Italy.

Journey to Italy came to life in part due to financial need. The Bergman/Rosellini family needed an income, and the film world seemed reluctant to accept them at that time. Liana Ferri, Rosellini’s translator, describes him as a person who showed different character traits to different people. He was, in her words, shrewd, foxy, and had a lot of problems: money problems, contract problems, and women problems. If he lived in peace, he was dead. (see Ingrid Bergman autobiography, p 205).


Journey to Italy begins with Alex and Catherine ( George Saunders and Ingrid Bergman) travelling in Italy in style. He’s wearing a perfectly cut jacket with four button holes at the cuff: she’s wearing a tightly belted leopard skin coat and beautiful maquillage. They’re in Italy to settle their uncle Homer’s estate. Right away there is a sense of tension between them : of uncomfortable silence and the need to fill the air with sound. The problem with speaking is that they use words as weapons. After eight years of marriage they know each other’s weak spots and choose to use this knowledge to hurt each other. They cannot be alone together, not even to have a quiet drink. They have developed a sophisticated method to hurt each other with words.

In the bar they’re joined by a vivacious group of young people. Catherine watches her husband light a cigarette for an attractive, younger woman. She sees her husband as he appears to others and she is jealous. The next day she tells him as much, as he is just waking from a deep sleep. Partly to pique his jealousy, and partly because of their beautiful surroundings, Catherine chooses to remind Alex of a young man they both knew-a poet named Charles. Charles fought in the war and died before his work could be published. He had been exposed to gas and his lungs were destroyed.

The next day there is a swift quarrel between Alex and Catherine. Catherine leaves the villa to tour a museum that may have meant something to Charles (he had been stationed there in the way). Catherine wants her husband to be punished for his pride and his self assurance. Immediately upon entering the museum the music changes, suggesting Catherine’s inner turmoil. There are many long, lingering closeups of the sculptures, including the Venus the guide likes the best. The guide says this is his favourite Venus because she’s not as young as the others-she’s more mature. Catherine claims to not understand what the guide means. The closeups of the statues of the young men disturb her. They remind her of Charles, and the image she has of him in her mind. She has aged while her memory of him has not. She knows she has changed mentally too and has become bitter and cynical.

When she arrives home Alex is genuinely interested in what she has seen and experienced, but she snaps at him. George Saunders, as Alex, does an excellent job of letting the pain of the attack show in his face. His features twist in pain but he is used to this sort of interaction with is wife: it’s both painful and expected. There is a tiny flutter of emotion which he is quick to shut down, and his face returns swiftly to his suave mask. It’s a beautiful piece of work.

A commotion outside causes them to come to the window. A couple who are engaged have been fighting. Alex wants to know how anyone can be jealous before the wedding, and Catherine explains the time before a wedding is a very tentative time. Alex looks at his wife with a glimmer of understanding. He has just gained an important insight into his wife’s past and her present.

That night they attend a small party. Catherine’s beauty and grace make her the centre of attention, and she laughs, throwing her head back, showing her beautiful teeth. All the men openly admire her elegant beauty, and again Alex is jealous. He shows his jealousy by ignoring her. The next day Catherine visits a temple where people pay homage to a Sybil who can tell them what their future has in store for love. Catherine is still angry with her husband and she moves through the shrine with Charles’ poetry echoing in her ears. She tries to retain her cynical carapace as a coping mechanism but the beauty of the Temple of Appollo is too great for her to succeed. She leaves the temple and sees couples and children everywhere. There is a reference to death as a feeling of being abandoned and alone. It is clear Catherine can relate. She returns to her empty room to play solitaire, and wait for her husband to return.

Once Alex returns she waits for him in the dark of her room. She knows his routine and his habits and it’s clear that she loves him. As she tries to express any tenderness he rebukes her cuttingly. Her pain is now evident in her face and she cries in frustration. This couple really knows how to hurt each other.

The next day she fails to wake him at the hour he had asked her to. She visits another shrine and is overcome with emotion. Later in the day they visit Pompeii just as a couple’s body are excavated. Catherine is so over come she has to leave. Alex does not offer her his arm for support. They have decided to divorce as they are forced to wait for the ceremonial passing of a saint. It is a feast day and this saint has the power to perform miracles. One follower holds up his crutches-she has caused him to walk again. Does the saint have an affect on Alex and Catherine? If you have not seen this film stop reading here: yes she does! The ending is hopeful for our characters.


Rosellini did a beautiful job of directing this film. There are gorgeous closeups of Ingrid throuout and her wardrobe is elegant. The dialogue is swift and the plot flows well. When I first saw this film I wasn’t moved by it: I thought he was trying for a Hollywood Douglas Sirk like effect. Now I’ve hanged my opinion. Rosellini was used to juggling several relationships at once and even left Anna Magnani for Ingrid Bergman. I think his neorealism had developed to the point where he could now express a whole panoply of emotions in his films. Both Ingrid and George were frustrated by the seeming lack of planning for this film: the dialogue was changed every night and the shooting was
constantly interrupted. Perhaps Rosellini used this to add to the tension in the first part of the film.

Ingrid understood at the time that the public simply would not accept her in the Rosellini films. She took responsibility for brusing the career of one of the fathers of neo realism. Her Holllywood career was simply to big for Italian cinema at that time. Privately she hoped that in time the films might better be appreciated. Her sentiments are echoed by Isabella Rosellini, in the short interview that accompanies the Criterion collections version of Rosellini’s Generale della Rovere. Isabella says the films failed commercially because at that time no one wanted to see Ingrid Bergman in a Roberto Rosellini film. I believe that over time they’ve held up remarkably well. I recommend that fans of Ingrid’s work take the time to watch this film and appreciate it. It’s not Casablanca, for sure-it’s to be appreciated on its own merits. Journey to Italy is as unique as Intermezzo and represents an important part of Ingrid’s cannon of work.



Three Years Later… Three Guys Named Mike Is Still a Favourite


Why this title to my new article? Well, do you remember that almost, almost, three years ago, in 2014, I started this blog and that one of the first reviews I published was one of Charles Walters’s Three Guys Named MikeThree Guys Named Mike? Well, as this review was very short, I thought that Love Letters to Old Hollywoods Van Johnson Blogathon would be the perfect occasion to re-visit it in a more developed way. No, I haven’t found a hidden meaning to this film, but I did developed my blogger skills since October 21, 2014, so I doubt this will be repetitive. Plus, I really hadn’t many followers in 2014, so I doubt many of you have read the review anyway!

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Well, here we are, with Three Guys Named Mike, again. A film where you realize that, yes, Mike is a common name (especially if three characters have this name…), but that it can suit all kinds of people! A film made for me since one of his central themes is planes (I’ve always loved planes).

Three Guys Named Mike is a 1951’s comedy directed by Charles Walters (High SocietyPlease Don’t Eat the Daisies), the king of agreable movies.

The story is quite simple: Marcy Lewis (Jane Wyman) has always dreamed of becoming an airline stewardess. So, after “studying” the profession with a bunch of anxious and motivated young women like her, she becomes one for American Airlines. Now a new stewardess, Marcy will meet three guys named… Mike! : Mike Jamison (Howard Keel), a pilot for American Airlines; Mike Lawrence (Van Johnson), a graduate research student in science and Mike Tracy (Barry Sullivan), a publicist. I bet you won’t be surprised if I tell you that the three of them fall in love with Marcy. Well, we have a situation here!

Who will she choose? Because she must choose one of them or none of them… I’ll let you discover that by yourself if you haven’t seen the film yet.

When the film starts, the sympathetic music score by Bronisław Kaper that we can hear in the generic gives us the clue that we are in for something fun and that doesn’t require too much concentration. Three Guys Named Mike is the perfect Friday night movie.

The film introduces us to a Jane Wyman full of dynamism. On more than one occasion she’ll make us smile and laugh. The energy she gives to her character is also beautifully transmitted to us. We can’t help loving her. Plus, that stewardess uniform suits her so well! Originally, the film was written for June Alyson, but, as she was unavailable, the part was given to Jane Wyman. Luckily, because June’s voice kind of annoys me… (sorry!).


We’ve often seen Howard Keel in musicals such as Annie Get Your Gun, Calamity Jane or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Three Guys Named Mike isn’t one, but he is introduced to us with his beautiful deep singing voice while driving a car, en route to the airport. On his way, he picks Marcy, who thinks he’s just a chauffeur. What would be her surprise when she’ll realize he’s actually one of her future colleagues! If he is first arrogant with her, they’ll later develop a beautiful complicity. Personally, among the three Mikes, he is the one I would have chosen, because Howard Keel is so seducing in his pilot uniform! There’s a scene where we feel very sorry for him. He had bought flowers for Mercy, but, too late…the plane is already gone! Poor man…

Mike Lawrence, the scientist, is the second one Marcy meets. I must admit that Three Guys Named Mike is the only Van Jonhson’s film I saw so far… But, yes, it makes me want to see more of them (even if I saw this film for the first time around 3 years ago…) as he is charming, both as a scientist and a soda jerk (a student need to pay his tuition fees!). The introduction of his character is a rather amusing one. Being one of the passengers in one of Marcy’s flights, this one is very curious to discover more about him. However, when she tries to talk to him, she realizes he’s not really listening, especially when she tells him “This plane will be 48 hours late” and he answers by a simple “That’s nice…”. Later, they, however, make acquaintance and both us and Marcy realize that he is, in fact, a very nice person. It’s funny how Marcy always seems to bump into him, wherever she is (as if this would happen in real life…). Is it destiny? If Mike Jamison is the handsome Mike, I’ll say that Mike Lawrence is the cute and friendly one. It’s indeed very easy to be fond of Van Johnson in this film. The actor gives to his character a beautiful humility and his chemistry with Jane Wyman is at the top.

Finally, Mike Tracy (Barry Sullivan) is for me the less interesting Mike of the lot. He adds something interesting and necessary to the film, yes, but I find him a bit drab. However, he knows how to seduce, but it almost seems to be his only interest in life.


Three Guys Named Mike is a story full of amusing adventures. Being a stewardess seems exciting, but also a bit stressing. For example, during her first flight, Marcy forgets something very important: the lunches! Well, when I think that some flight companies nowadays don’t serve lunch anymore… The humour is mainly contained in her character and Jane Wyman manages to keep it alive beautifully. No stress when you watch this film. The only question you are anxious to know the answer is: Who will she choose?


I didn’t have time to write something very long as I’m also busy with my Ingrid Bergman Blogathon, but I hope this was enough to make you want to see the film if you haven’t yet!

A big thanks to my friend Michaela at Love Letters to Old Hollywood for hosting this blogathon in honour of Van Johnson!

Don’t forget to check the other entries:

The Van Johnson Blogathon

See you! 🙂