March 5, 2018  (Web Review)


Kino Lorber, 70 min., not rated, DVD: $19.99, Blu-ray: $29.99

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Ingrid Bergman made her Hollywood debut in 1939 at the age of 24 in this deliriously romantic tearjerker, an American remake of the 1936 Swedish film that helped make her a star of Scandinavian cinema. Here, she reprises the role of Anita Hoffman, a lovely young pianist who teaches music to the adolescent daughter of world-renowned violinist Holger Brandt (played by Leslie Howard in the American version) and falls into a passionate affair with the happily married man. Besotted with the talented beauty, Holger brings her on his next tour and then leaves his wife and two children to run off with Anita, who gives up her music scholarship in order to be with him. Howard is his usual reserved, dignified self as the classical musical music superstar, which makes Bergman’s luminescent beauty and natural ease stand out as the innocent carried away by first love but tormented by guilt for breaking up a family. Intermezzo is set in an idealized old Europe (recreated in California)—with grand cities featuring 19th-century buildings and beautiful old villages filled with chalets—and it was shot by legendary cinematographer Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane). Directed by actor turned filmmaker Gregory Ratoff, the film features performances of Tchaikovsky and Grieg in addition to the signature title piece. Very quickly, Bergman went on to become a superstar in the 1940s and she won three Academy Awards. Extras include audio commentary by film historian Kat Ellinger. Recommended. (S. Axmaker)