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ALL THESE WOMEN (FOR ATT INTE TALA OM ALLA DESSA KVINNOR)(NOW ABOUT THESE WOMEN…) (director/writer: Ingmar Bergman; screenwriter: Erland Josephson; cinematographer: Sven Nykvist; editor: Ulla Ryghe; music: Erik Nordgren ; cast: Harriet Andersson (Isolde), Bibi Andersson (Bumblebee), Jarl Kulle (Cornelius), Georg Funquist (Tristan), Allan Edwall (Jillker), Karin Kavli (Madame Tussaud), Gertrud Fridh (Traviata), Eva Dahlbeck (Adelaide), Mona Malm (Cecilia), Barbro Hjort of Ornas (Beatrice); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Allan Ekelund; Tartan Video/PAL; 1964-Sweden-in Swedish with English subtitles)
“A minor satire lambasting critics.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The first Ingmar Bergman(“Persona”/”Shame”/”Cries and Whispers”) film to be in color is a minor satire lambasting critics who derided his recent morbid films. It’s a costume comedy set in the 1920s. It tells of a humiliating buffoonish critic caught in a series of sexual misadventures with a famous narcissistic cello virtuoso’s string of women. It’s co-written by Bergman and his long-time friend, the noted Swedish actor Erland Josephson. It was made after Bergman’s grim psychological trilogy film, The Silence (1962). It therefore was a change of pace for the serious, melancholy and renown filmmaker, appointed in 1963 as Head of the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. He tried for Mack Sennett and Jacques Tati humor but failed to get many laughs out of me due to the heavy-handedness of the comedy. Though it has some success mocking the intentions of a pretentious, effete, smug and opinionated music critic, Cornelius (Jarl Kulle), who is writing a biography on the womanizing cellist Felix and to research his subject the critic stays in his house for a few days even though he’s not welcomed there. The befuddled sneaky Cornelius can’t visit with Felix to get into something personal, as there are a string of women who demand all the cellist’s attention and each wants the maestro all to herself. Felix’s wily manager Jillker (Allan Edwall) photographs the critic foolishly dressed as a woman and threatens to use those photos to humiliate him unless he stops writing the book. Jillker also has the critic running around the mansion in circles over a fireworks attack. The critic strikes back by threatening to ruin the cellist’s reputation in his book unless Felix plays for the public a composition he wrote.

The cellinist’s entourage of women, one for each day of the week, include the playful wise maid Isolde (Harriet Andersson), the flirty Bumblebee (Bibi Andersson), his long-time cronelike wealthy Wax Museum music sponsor Tussaud (Karin Kavli), the pathetic frustrated gun-shooting Traviata (Gertrud Fridh), the desirous pretty young relative Cecilia (Mona Malm), the seductive harem girl Beatrice (Barbro Hjort of Ornas) and his stately blonde forgiving wife Adelaide (Eva Dahlbeck).

Bergman makes his point that “genius is to make a critic change his mind.”If that’s the case here, I should have been convinced to change my opinion. The lighthearted mood for the black farce seems to be forced and self-indulgent, but the film is not without some interest.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”