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A chic, continental romance, Goodbye Again (1961) stars luminous screen legend Ingrid Bergman as Paula, a middle-aged interior decorator in Paris caught in a difficult love triangle. For five years she has been the loyal companion of the sophisticated but footloose Roger (Yves Montand), who loves Paula but will not marry her or give up his dalliances with other women. When Philip (Anthony Perkins), the wealthy and much younger son of one of her clients, starts pursuing her, the lonely Paula is plunged into a tailspin of confusion and doubt. Their inevitable affair tests her relationship with Roger as well as her own romantic illusions.
Goodbye Again was based on the mildly scandalous French novel Aimez-vous Brahms? by Francoise Sagan, which was adapted for the screen by Samuel Taylor. Taylor's writing credits also include the Audrey Hepburn vehicle Sabrina (1954) and Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958). It was the second time Bergman worked with producer/director Anatole Litvak (The Snake Pit, 1948). The first time was on the 1956 drama Anastasia, which marked Bergman's triumphant return to the screen following her well-publicized affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini, which had made her a Hollywood pariah. Her impressive performance in Anastasia earned her a second Academy Award for Best Actress.
Co-star Anthony Perkins was just coming off his smash 1960 success as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, a role that would typecast him for the rest of his career. Yet, as the charming, aimless Philip in Goodbye Again, Perkins clearly demonstrates his versatility as an actor in a role that couldn't be further removed from his turn as a cross-dressing schizophrenic killer. In fact, European critics were much more impressed with his work than their American peers, as evidenced by the fact that his performance in Goodbye Again won the Best Actor award that year at the Cannes Film Festival.
Over the years, several behind-the-scenes incidents on the set of Goodbye Again made their way into the tabloids. The most famous one was that Bergman was a little too persistent in trying to get Perkins to rehearse their kissing scenes in her dressing room. Perkins was later quoted in People magazine stating that Bergman would have welcomed an affair with him. In her 1980 autobiography My Story, however, Bergman insisted that she only suggested rehearsing the kissing scenes because of her shyness and tendency to blush. "You see," she explained, "although the camera has no terrors at all for me, I'm very bad at this sort of intimacy on the screen, especially when the men are practically strangers." In a letter she wrote during the filming of Goodbye Again she expressed her fondness of both her co-stars. "These two actors (Montand and Perkins) are wonderful for their parts," she wrote. "It's a long time since I worked with two actors I enjoyed so much. They are both charming, both great personalities and very different, and you understand why I - in my part as Paula - love them both."
Goodbye Again was well-received in Europe, but the suggestive adult content proved too much for American audiences who, at the time, were not ready to see Ingrid Bergman juggle lovers and bed a man fifteen years her junior. Many also felt that Bergman, at 45 years old, was still simply too beautiful to be playing a desperate matron like Paula. In the biography Notorious: The Life of Ingrid Bergman, author Donald Spoto points out that Bergman's looks actually had to be played down in order for her to be more believable in her role. Her makeup artist John O'Gorman is quoted as saying, "We had to put shadows under her eyes and wrinkles on her neck to give her the required maturity."
Actress and singer Diahann Carroll also makes a brief appearance in Goodbye Again as a bluesy nightclub performer. (It was one of her earliest film roles.) If you look sharp, you'll also spot Yul Brynner and French actor Jean-Pierre Cassell (both uncredited) in brief cameos. Stars Bergman and Perkins appeared together again 13 years later as part of the all-star ensemble cast of Murder on the Orient Express (1974), which won Bergman another Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress.
Producer/Director: Anatole Litvak
Screenplay: Francoise Sagan (novel), Samuel A. Taylor
Art Direction: Alexandre Trauner
Cinematography: Armand Thirard
Costume Design: Christian Dior
Film Editing: Bert Bates
Original Music: Georges Auric
Cast: Ingrid Bergman (Paula Tessier), Yves Montand (Roger Demarest), Anthony Perkins (Philip Van Der Besh), Jesse Royce Landis (Mrs. Van Der Besh), Pierre Dux (Maitre Fleury), Uta Taeger (Gaby), Michele Mercier (Maisie III).
by Andrea Foshee