Harriet Andersson - Actors and Actresses

Nationality: Swedish. Born: Stockholm, 14 January 1932. Family: Married the director Jörn Donner. Career: 1949—stage debut in Stockholm revue; 1950—first film released, Medan staden sover ; 1952—impressed with her performance in Trots , Ingmar Bergman wrote film Monika for her; 1954—engaged by Bergman for regular stage company, Malmö; later acted with Intiman theater of Stockholm, 1956, and with Hälsingborg town theater, 1961; 1980s—appeared regularly at Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern, Stockholm; Awards: German Film Critics Grand Prize, for Through a Glass Darkly , 1961; Venice Film Festival, Best Actress Award, for To Love , 1964; Swedish Film Association plaque. Address: c/o Sandrew Film and Theater AB, Box 5612, 114 86 Stockholm, Sweden.

Films as Actress:


Medan staden sover ( While the City Sleeps ) (Kjellgren); Anderssonskans Kalle ( Mrs. Andersson's Charlie ) (Husberg) (as Majken); Motorkavalierer ( Cavaliers on the Road ) (Ahrle); Två trappor över gården ( Backyard ) (Werner)


Biffen och Bananen ( Beef and the Banana ) (Husberg); Puck heter jag ( My Name Is Puck ) (Bauman); Dårskapens hus ( House of Folly ) (Ekman); Frånskild ( Divorced ) (Molander) (as applicant)


Sabotage (Jonsson); Ubåt 39 ( U-boat 39 ) (Faustman); Trots ( Defiance ) (Molander)

Harriet Andersson on Sommarnattens leende
Harriet Andersson on Sommarnattens leende


Sommaren med Monika ( Summer with Monika ) (Bergman) (title role); Gycklarnas afton ( Sawdust and Tinsel ; The Naked Night ) (Bergman) (as Anne)


En lektion i kärlek ( A Lesson in Love ) (Bergman) (as Nix)


Hoppsan! (Olin); Kvinnodröm ( Dreams ; Journey into Autumn ) (Bergman) (as Doris); Sommarnattens leende ( Smiles of a Summer Night ) (Bergman) (as Petra the Maid)


Sista paret ut ( The Last Couple Out ; Last Pair Out ) (Sjöberg) (as Anita); Nattbarn ( Children of the Night ) (Hellström)


Synnöve Solbakken (Hellström)


Kvinna i leopard ( Woman in Leopardskin ; Woman in a Leopardskin Coat ) (Jan Molander); Flottans överman ( Commander of the Navy ) (Olin)


Brott i Paradiset ( Crime in Paradise ) (Kjellgren); Noc Poslubna ( Hääyö ; En Brölloppsnatt ; Wedding Night ) (Blomberg)


Såsom i en spegel ( Through a Glass Darkly ) (Bergman) (as Karin, the daughter); Barbara (Wisbar)


Siska (Kjellin)


Lyckodrömmen ( Dream of Happiness ) (Abramson); En söndag i september ( A Sunday in September ) (Jörn Donner)


För att inte tala om alla dessa kvinnor ( All These Women ; Now about All These Women ) (Bergman) (as Isolde); Att älska ( To Love ) (Jörn Donner) (as Louise); Älskande par ( Loving Couples ) (Zetterling and Hughes) (as Agda)


För vänskaps skull ( Just Like Friends ; For Friendship ) (Abramson); Lianbron ( The Vine Bridge ; The Vine Garden ) (Nykvist); Här börjar äventyret ( Täällä Alkaa Seikkilu ; Adventure Starts Here ) (Jörn Donner)


Ormen ( The Serpent ) (Abramson)


The Deadly Affair (Lumet) (as Ann Dobbs); "Han-hon" ("He-She") ep. of Stimulantia (Jörn Donner) (as woman in hotel room); Mënniskor modes og sod musik opstår i hjertet ( Männeskor mötas och ljuv musik uppstår i hjärtat ; People Meet and Sweet Music Fills the Air ) (Carlsen) (as Sofia Petersen); Tvärbalk ( Rooftree ; Crossbeams ) (Jörn Donner)


Jag älskar, du älskar ( I Love, You Love ) (Björkman); Flickorna ( The Girls ) (Zetterling and Hughes) (as Marianne); Kampf um Rom ( Fight for Rome ) (Siodmak)


Kampf um Rom II ( Fight for Rome II ) (Siodmak)


Anna (Jörn Donner) (title role)


I havsbandet ( The Sea's Hold ; On the Archipelago Boundary ) (Lagerkvist—for TV)


Viskningar och rop ( Cries and Whispers ) (Bergman) (as Agnes)


Bebek ( Baby ) (Barbro and Karabuda—for TV)


Kallelsen (Nykvist) (as narrator)


"Den vita väggen" ("The White Wall") ep. of Två Kvinnor ( Two Women ) (Björkman—ep. also shown separately); Monismanien 1995 ( Monismania 1995 ) (Fant)


Hempas bar ( Triumph Tiger '57 ; Cry of Triumph ) (Thelestam)


Linus eller Tegelhusets hemlighet ( Linus ) (Sjöman); La sabina ( The Sabina ) (Borau) (as Monica)


Fanny och Alexander ( Fanny and Alexander ) (Bergman) (as Justina)


Raskenstam ( Raskenstam—The Casanova of Sweden ) (Hellström) (as Cecilia Andersson)


De Två Saliga ( These Blessed Two ) (Bergman—for TV) (as Viveka Burman)


Gösta Berlings Saga (Lagerkvist)


Sommarkvåller på Jorden (Lindblom) (as Magda)


Himmel og Helvede (Arnfred) (as Jasmin)


Blankt Vapen (Nykvist) (as Mama)


Hoyere enn Himmelen ( Beyond the Sky ) (as Miss Kjaer)


I rollerna tre (Olfson—doc) (as herself)


Emma åklagare (Alfredson, Klänge) (Rebecka); Selma & Johannaen roadmovie (Magner) (as Karin)


Pip-Larssons (Dahlman, Lindberg—for TV) (as Fröken Lur); Längtans blåa blomma (Óskarsson—for TV) (as Mrs. Tidrén); Det Sjunde skottet (Aldevinge)


Happy End (Olofson) (as Marja)


On ANDERSSON: articles—

Filmography in Film Dope (Nottingham, England), December 1972.

"Le vedette de la semaine: Harriet Andersson," in Ciné Revue (Brussels), 26 October 1978.

Ecran (Paris), February 1979 and 15 May 1979.

Björkman, S., "Harriet Andersson," in Chaplin (Stockholm), vol. 39, no. 5, 1993.

* * *

Of the many remarkable actresses associated with the work of Ingmar Bergman, Harriet Andersson has been perhaps the most versatile, yet there is a common denominator to all her seemingly diverse characterizations: sensuality (or, in certain cases, its frustration or repression). It is the keynote of the performance that established her as a major Bergman star, in the title role of Summer with Monika : apparently sluttish, shallow, and self-centered, the character is redeemed (both for Bergman and for the audience) partly by the film's graphic account of her squalid, miserable background, but more by her spontaneous, animal-like physicality. In the film's privileged moment, Bergman abruptly breaks the predominantly naturalistic, sequence-shot treatment of most of the film to isolate her face in close-up. As the background darkens, she stares straight into the camera, at us , defying us to "cast the first stone." Though the characterizations and contexts are quite different, Andersson's portrayals of the circus-owner's mistress in The Naked Night and the pert and experienced maidservant in Smiles of a Summer Night utilize the same basic trait of unashamed and unrepressed sexuality.

It is this basic premise of Andersson's image (as a Bergman star) that makes so moving the anguish of her more overtly serious roles in later films. In Through a Glass Darkly her physicality finds no release, caught as she is between a dull, well-meaning, unimaginative husband and a father who clinically studies her decline into schizophrenia; her ultimate breakdown is provoked by her desperate seduction of her younger brother in the womblike hull of an abandoned boat. The breakdown itself takes a hideously physical form: the hallucination of being violated by God in the form of a monstrous spider.

Andersson's Agnes in Cries and Whispers builds on her sensuality in another way: haggard, emaciated, eaten away by cancer, her whole body expresses the physical experience of pain perhaps more vividly than it has ever been expressed in the cinema. The significance of her scene of physical contact with the maid Anna has been much debated: is it maternal or lesbian? As the infant's first erotic experiences involve intimate contact with the mother, it can clearly be both, a reading strongly supported by Andersson's persona. Her most recent appearance in a Bergman theatrical film—as the middle-aged maidservant in the household of the repressive stepfather in Fanny and Alexander —again plays on Andersson's physicality: the character's sexual repression (sexuality perverted into mean-spirited aggression) expresses itself in the physical symptoms of open sores.

—Robin Wood

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