Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

In the first weeks of 1960, Ingmar Bergman premiered The Storm, his fourth television film in three years, and quite an important milestone in his screen career it was. No artist in any medium was a more obvious influence on the director, nor more readily acknowledged by him as such, than the great playwright August Strindberg, […]

1955’s Smiles of a Summer Night is a no-two-ways-about-it masterpiece, as far as I’m concerned, but it’s also a light bauble: tinged with melancholy and hard-won worldy wisdom, but still mostly a sex farce. 1957’s The Seventh Seal is similarly a no-two-ways-about-it masterpiece, but it’s also a strange pageant-like work of dense symbolism, unafraid to […]

You have perhaps heard of The Godfather. It is a three-hour movie about the Mafia, released in 1972 by a studio that had been losing money at a steady clip, directed by an up-and-coming filmmaker whose last film had been a major flop (he was hired, in large part because the desperate studio knew that […]

I hope I will not devalue Lake Mungo if I describe it as a film that feels absolutely perfect for 2008. That suggests, I am afraid, that it has very little to offer for those of us living later than 2008, and this is not at all the case. But I think the film would […]

Ingmar Bergman was best-known in most of the world as a film director and writer; in his native Sweden, he was as well-known, if not better, as a theater director. He mostly kept these worlds separate: a few of his films have a distinctly theatrical sensibility, and at least one of his theatrical productions was […]

In the wake of Smiles of a Summer Night, a major international hit that had been dismissed by Swedish critics (thereby setting up a pattern that would persist for the rest of his career; my instinct is to accuse the Swedish critics of snobbery), Ingmar Bergman took a year to regroup. In the ten years […]

Ingmar Bergman once suggested, I do not know how seriously, that his choice in the early summer of 1955 was between two things: making a lightweight comedy for Svensk Filmindustri, or killing himself. Now, I shouldn’t think that his professional situation was as bad as all that – his position with Malmö City Theatre was […]

A review requested by Mandy, with thanks to supporting Alternate Ending as a donor through Patreon. Do you have a movie you’d like to see reviewed? This and other perks can be found on our Patreon page! Before watching it, I knew about 2013’s Fateful Findings, the breakthrough for writer/director/producer* Neil Breen, only that it […]

The first half of the 1950s was the most troubled time in Ingmar Bergman’s entire career, business-wise if not artistically, and things bottomed out in 1953. This was when Sawdust and Tinsel released, and became the first unmitigated disaster of his career: resoundingly rejected by audiences and treated coldly by critics (that it was his […]

The name of the game is “let’s look at all of Ingmar Bergman’s early screenplays”, and the Swedish critics of 1947 were certainly willing to play that game just as much as I am over 70 years later: Woman Without a Face, the fourth film with a Bergman script (beating A Ship to India to […]

By the time Ingmar Bergman directed Waiting Women, released in the autumn of 1952, it had been almost two years since he’d made a movie. I don’t want to go all the way as far saying “and you can tell”, because there are ample strengths here. But there’s also a bit of stiffness in the […]

No film has ever deserved its reputation less than How Green Was My Valley, an adaptation by Philip Dunne of Richard Llewellyn’s 1939 novel that carefully balances gooey nostalgic sentiment and troubling clarity, is one of the most beautifully-shot films of the 1940s, and represents one of the highest achievements of John Ford’s career-long fascination […]