Cast & Crew
Felix, a famous cellist, has died. At his funeral, the last 4 days of his life are recounted. Cornelius, a conceited, well-known music critic, visits at the summer home of Felix, bringing with him his own musical composition entitled "A Fish's Dream. Abstraction No. 14," which he hopes the "genius" will perform. Also staying at the estate are the numerous women in Felix's life: his wife Adelaïde, his mistress Humlan, his accompanist Beatrice, his housemaid Isolde, his pretty young relative Cecilia, his pupil Traviata, and his patroness Madame Tussaud. Cornelius, denied permission to enter the master's presence, wanders about the huge house attempting to learn something about Felix. Humlan lures him to bed, Traviata attacks him, and he is photographed by Jillker, Felix's concert master, in a compromising position with Beatrice. Fleeing to the attic, he finds some letters in which Felix urges Adelaïde to murder him if ever he betrays his art. After causing mass confusion by accidentally setting off a fireworks display, Cornelius attempts to see Felix by dressing as a woman. Failing in this he angrily announces that unless his musical composition is performed by Felix he will not immortalize him in a biography. Although Felix makes no reply, Cornelius' work is announced for the "genius"'s radio concert. But Felix dies before a note can be played . After the funeral Cornelius begins to read Felix's biography to the others. They are interrupted by a young cellist who plays for them. Felix is forgotten as everyone gathers around the new "genius."
Barbro Hiort Af Ornäs
P. A. Lundgren
P. O. Pettersson
All These Women
Harriet Andersson, describing her cellist lover, in All These Women (1964)
After directing his Silence of God Trilogy -- Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Winter Light (1963) and The Silence (1963) -- Ingmar Bergman set out to make something more commercial. The result was this sex-charged 1964 comedy, shot in Eastmancolor. Although it was generally derided by critics at the time and by Bergman in his memoirs, it has picked up fans over the years for its experimental use of color and its autobiographical elements.
Bergman wrote the script with Erland Josephson, an actor who started his film career with a bit part in the master's It Rains on Our Love (1946) before achieving leading man status in Brink of Life (1958). He would appear in 14 Bergman films in all, including Cries & Whispers (1972) and Scenes from a Marriage (1974). They concocted the tale of a pompous music critic (Jarl Kulle) out to land an interview with a famous cellist as an avenue to getting the man to perform a piece he's composed. When he can't get an interview, he moves into the cellist's summer home and starts interviewing the women in his life, including his wife (Eva Dahlbeck), his official mistress (Bibi Andersson), the housemaid (Harriet Andersson) with whom the musician has dallied and various other women who have had affairs with him. Eventually, Kulle becomes romantically involved with them as he seeks to become the subject of his proposed interview.
In a bid to make the film more commercial, Bergman decided to film in color for the first time, working tirelessly to develop the right palette for the film. With Sven Nykvist, on the fifth of their 18 films together, he shot the film largely in pastels, turning the cellist's country manor into a large candy box. Some scenes are also surprisingly stylized, with Nykvist setting one dominant color -- red for a concert, black for the cellist's funeral -- against a stark white background. Ultimately, however, Bergman was unhappy with the film's look. He would not return to color until five years later, when he made The Passion of Anna (1969). In that and later films, he would use a much darker palette than in All These Women.
Complementing the film's stylized use of color was the use of existing music in the score. Along with classical music, much of it Bach, played by the cellist, Bergman also scored scenes with 1920s-style jazz band arrangements of "Yes, We Have No Bananas" and "By the Sea."
By 1964, Bergman was already assembling a stock company, a group of actors with whom he worked consistently. He filled All These Women with familiar faces like Bibi Andersson, with whom he would make 13 films, Harriet Andersson, who would appear in nine of his films, Barbra Hort af Ornäs (six), Dahlbeck (five), Kulle (four), Gertrud Fridh (four), Mona Malm (four), Allan Edwall (four) and Georg Funkquist (three). There is no actor credited with playing the cellist, whose face is never seen. Bergman had had an affair with Harriet Andersson in the 1950s, which has led some historians and critics to suggest an autobiographical element to the film.
All These Women opened to generally unfavorable reviews in Sweden and internationally. Writing in Svenska Dagbladet, Gunnar Unger would call it "the least absorbing film he has created." Like many critics, The New York Times' A.H. Weiler seemed to resent Bergman's having gone against his image to direct a comedy, writing that "Ingmar Bergman, who has tackled religion, sin, sex, music and muddled mores in elliptical but artistically distinguished film style, appears to be confused by comedy and color." Many other critics thought the film's autobiographical elements, particularly the depiction of an artist living in a world dominated by women, made it an inferior imitation of Federico Fellini's 8 ½ (1963). Andrew Sarris of The Village Voice wrote "All These Women...is Ingmar Bergman's stab at 8 ½ with little of Fellini's technical facility and less of his candor."
Even in later years, the film has remained a minor part of the Bergman canon, with Roger Ebert calling it his worst film. That seems a little over-the-top, considering the film's congeniality. Kulle was an accomplished farceur and pulled off some inspired physical bits in the film. And even in weak material, actresses like Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson and Dahlbeck are well worth watching. The film's supporters have pointed to its playful air, something rare in Bergman except in films like Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) and The Magic Flute (1975), and its use of such recurring themes as the difficulties of men and women relating to each other and the conflict between the life of the senses and the life of the mind. Critic Joe Queenan has also suggested that this film, although never acknowledged, seems to have influenced Woody Allen, one of Bergman's biggest disciples. The idea of a man surrounded by the women in his life has turned up in several Allen films. In addition, his third feature, Bananas (1971), takes its title from "Yes, We Have No Bananas," a song featured prominently on the All These Women soundtrack.
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Producer: Allan Ekelund
Screenplay: Erland Josephson & Bergman
Cinematography: Sven Nykvist
Score: Erik Nordgren
Cast: Bibi Andersson (Humlan), Harriet Andersson (Isolde), Eva Dahlbeck (Adelaide), Karin Kavli (Madame Tussaud), Gertrud Fridh (Traviata), Mona Malm (Cecilia), Jarl Kulle (Cornelius)
By Frank Miller
All These Women
This is Ingmar Bergman's first color film.
Released in Sweden in June 1964 as För att inte tala om alla dessa kvinnor. Buntel Ericsson, credited with screenplay by some sources, is a collective pseudonym for Ingmar Bergman and Erland Josephson. Carl Billquist is credited with the role of Felix by at least one source. Alternative title: As for All These Women.
Bergman's first color feature and first attempt at comedy.