Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ingrid Bergman in The Visit 1964

This 1964 film is based on a 1956 play by Swiss playwright, Friedrich Dürrenmatt about an impoverished European town that receives a visit from one of it's former citizens who has become the richest woman in the world. She had been shunned by the town at 17 years old after having an affair with one of the men and giving birth to a child out of wedlock. She offers to give the town a million dollars to help them escape the poverty they find themselves in on one condition - they kill the man who fathered her child.

Ingrid Bergman plays the rich woman and Anthony Quinn is the man she had the affair with in this Italian production. It's a very strong brew with lots of intense emotions and broadly played scenes, but it packs a mighty wallop and is worth watching alone for Ms. Bergman's wardrobe, which is spectacular - just look at those glasses! As in many Italian films the dialog is recorded after principal photography is completed, so there's that slightly out of sync quality to the finished product, but it was originally done in English, so it's not dubbed in that sense. The whole film isn't available on YouTube (yet) but one scene is there, as well as this tribute to the film by ILoveRayMilland. Have a look.

If this ever comes up on television, be sure and watch or record it. It's really worth seeing for the spectacle and the intense emotions that it brings up. If you're obsessed with seeing it you can sometimes find discs for sale at iOffer.com.

Obscurity factor: 9 (no DVD, no VHS, Infrequently aired on television)


  1. Always thought of this one as a rather damp squid because Ingrid Bergman is too young - and we love her, no matter what. The play is "The Visit of the OLD Lady." Casting Ingrid (who is much younger than today's aged gamines like Ms. Keaton or Ms. Hawn) changes the dynamics. Imagine a minute, Ben, a Martita Hunt in the part, and story becomes revolting, which it was meant to be. In the end, I remember this film as "the one with the gold lamé leggings." In the Opera, Karla Zachanassian was sung by the compulsively repulsive Regina Resnik, a closer fit.

  2. Yes, I see your point that Bergman was too young, or rather, too glamorous to play the part. My mother actually played it when she was quite young, but she played Karla as a gorgon. It's interesting that they changed the ending as well.