All These Women (1964)
“Ingmar Bergmans fÃ¶rsta komedi i fÃ¤rg!”
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Cast: Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson, Eva Dahlbeck
Synopsis: The pretentious critic Cornelius is writing a biography on a famous cellist and to do some research he goes to stay in his house for a few days.
All These Women, Ingmar Bergman’s first colour film — and a rare comedy — is one of those movies that is definitely something of an acquired taste and which may only appeal to those already familiar with the usually more sombre director. The farcical story concerns the attempts by an egotistical and pretentious biographer — and amateur composer – to blackmail an enigmatic (and never seen) cellist into performing one of his pieces in return for writing a favourable biography. We learn of Felix the cellist only through the conversations of a bevy of enamoured women who live in his sumptuous manor.
There’s a self-mocking tone to this film that doesn’t really ring true, and a strong impression that someone behind it all is incredibly impressed by their own cleverness and that any inability on our part to share or understand the joke is more of a reflection on us than it is on them.
Bergman makes good use of colour, and the cinematography is sumptuous throughout as are the women, who all look ravishing. Other than that, however, there’s not much to recommend this mercifully brief effort. The lead character Cornelius (Jarl Kulle) is a dislikeable and annoying fool, none of the characters are particularly interesting, and Bergman provides ample ammunition for those who accuse him of having no sense of humour….
(Reviewed 26th November 2005)