(The Naked Night; Sawdust and Tinsel)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Production: Sandrews for Svensk Filmindustri; black and white, 35mm; running time: 92 minutes; length: 2520 meters. Released 14 September 1953, Sweden. Filmed early summer 1953 in Sandrews studios in Stockholm; and exteriors shot in Arild, Sweden.
Producer: Rune Waldekranz; screenplay: Ingmar Bergman; photography: Hilding Bladh, Göran Strindberg, and Sven Nykvist; editor: Carl-Olav Skeppstedt; art director: Bibi Lindström; music: Karl-Birger Blomdahl; costume designer: Mago.
Harriet Andersson (
); Ake Grönberg (
); Hasse Ekman (
); Anders Ek (
); Gudrun Brost (
); Annika Tretow (
Agda, Albert's wife
); Gunnar Björnstrand (
); Erik Strandmark (
); Kiki (
); Ake Fridell (
); Majken Torkeli (
); Vanjek Hedberg (
); Curt Löwgren (
Béranger, Jean, Ingmar Bergman et ses films , Paris, 1959.
Billquist, Fritiof, Ingmar Bergman: Teatermannen och filmskaparen , Stockholm, 1960.
Burvenich, Jos., Thèmes d'inspiration d'Ingmar Bergman , Brussels, 1960.
Siclier, Jacques, Ingmar Bergman , Paris, 1960.
Höök, Marianne, Ingmar Bergman , Stockholm, 1962.
Béranger, Jean, and François Guyon, Ingmar Bergman , Lyons, 1964.
Donner, Jörn, The Personal Vision of Ingmar Bergman , Bloomington, Indiana, 1964.
Nelson, David, Ingmar Bergman: The Search for God , Boston, 1964.
Oldrini, Guido, La solitudine di Ingmar Bergman , Parma, 1965.
Steene, Birgitta, Ingmar Bergman , New York, 1968.
Gibson, Arthur, The Silence of God: Creative Response to the Films of Ingmar Bergman , New York, 1969.
Wood, Robin, Ingmar Bergman , New York, 1969.
Sjögren, Henrik, Regi: Ingmar Bergman , Stockholm, 1970.
Young, Vernon, Cinema Borealis: Ingmar Bergman and the Swedish Ethos , New York, 1972.
Donner, Jörn, The Films of Ingmar Bergman , New York, 1972.
Simon, John, Ingmar Bergman Directs , New York, 1972.
Björkman, Stig, and others, editors, Bergman on Bergman , New York, 1973.
Ranieri, Tino, Ingmar Bergman , Florence, 1974.
Kaminsky, Stuart M., editor, Ingmar Bergman: Essays in Criticism , New York, 1975.
Marion, Denis, Ingmar Bergman , Paris, 1979.
Manvell, Roger, Ingmar Bergman: An Appreciation , New York, 1980.
Mosley, Philip, Ingmar Bergman: The Cinema as Mistress , Boston and London, 1981.
Petric, Vlada, editor, Film and Dreams: An Approach to Bergman , New York, 1981.
Cowie, Peter, Ingmar Bergman: A Critical Biography , New York and London, 1982.
Livingston, Paisley, Ingmar Bergman and the Ritual of Art , Ithaca, New York, 1982.
Jones, G. William, editor, Talking with Ingmar Bergman , Dallas, 1983.
Lefèvre, Raymond, Ingmar Bergman , Paris, 1983.
Dervin, Daniel, Through a Freudian Lens Deeply: A Psychoanalysis of Cinema , Hillsdale, New Jersey, 1985.
Gado, Frank, The Passion of Ingmar Bergman , Durham, North Carolina, 1986.
Bergman, Ingmar, Laterna Magica , Stockholm, 1987; as The Magic Lantern: An Autobiography , London, 1988.
Steene, Birgitta, Ingmar Bergman: A Guide to References and Resources , Boston, 1987.
Cohen, James, Through a Lens Darkly , New York, 1991.
Bjorkman, Stig, and Torsten Maans, and Jonas Sima, Bergman on Bergman: Interviews with Ingmar Bergman , Cambridge, 1993.
Cohen, Hubert I., Ingmar Bergman: The Art of Confession , New York, 1993.
Long, Robert Emmet, Ingmar Bergman: Film and Stage , New York, 1994.
Tornqvist, Egil, Between Stage and Screen: Ingmar Bergman Directs , Amsterdam, 1995.
Blackwell, Marilyn J., Gender and Representation in the Films of Ingmar Bergman , Rochester, 1997.
Lloyd, Michaels, editor, Ingmar Bergman's Persona , New York, 1999.
Austin, Paul, "Ingmar Bergman, Magician of Swedish Cinema," in Anglo-Swedish Review (London), April 1959.
Archer, Eugene, "The Rack of Life," in Film Quarterly (Berkeley), Summer 1959.
Alpert, Hollis, "Style Is the Director," in Saturday Review (New York), 23 December 1961.
Nykvist, Sven, "Photographing the Films of Ingmar Bergman," in American Cinematographer (Los Angeles), October 1962.
Lefèvre, Raymond, "Ingmar Bergman," in Image et Son (Paris), March 1969.
Film Comment (New York), Summer 1970.
Rado, P., in Cinema (Budapest), March 1975.
Koustrup, A., in Kosmorama (Copenhagen), Spring 1978.
Listener (London), 5 March 1987.
Dahlbeck, E., "En arbetskamrat pa vag att kanoniseras," in Chaplin (Stockholm), vol. 30, no. 2/3, 1988.
Simon, J., "Det manskliga ansiktet," in Chaplin (Stockholm), vol. 30, no. 2/3, 1988.
Simon, John, "The Human Face," in Chaplin (Stockholm), Special Issue, 1988.
Simon, John, "Det manskliga ansiktet," in Chaplin (Stockholm), vol. 30, no. 2–3, 1988.
Trasatti, S., "Bergman, il paradosso di un Ateo cristiano ," in Castoro Cinema (Milan), no. 156, November/December 1991.
* * *
The films of Ingmar Bergman have been considered by commercial distributors as "intellectual" films rather than simple entertainment. The themes Bergman has chosen to present in his work—death, fate, love, loneliness—are thought to have only intellectual appeal. The Naked Night exhibits many typical Bergman themes and has been selected by some critics as his best film. However, this favorable acceptance of the film does not reflect the initial popular reaction.
The Naked Night was the first of Bergman's films to be given a wide release in the United States (although it was his eighteenth film as a director). A few of his early films had a limited distribution here, but they were mainly exploited for their nudity as soft-core pornography. The Naked Night was also publicized in this manner, as evidenced by the American title. A more literal translation of Gycklarnas Afton is "twilight of the jugglers." France released the film as Night of the Clowns and England released the film as Sawdust and Tinsel . Only the American version was labeled with a suggestive title.
As in many of Bergman's films, the main theme of The Naked Night is the idea of fate. Fate dictates the kind of lives the characters must lead and they cannot escape their destinies. Their attempts to do so only make their lives more miserable. For example, Albert, the owner of a travelling circus, seeks a more secure life in the traditional family unit. When he tries to make amends with his estranged wife, she rejects him and even thanks him for having left her in the first place. Albert's visit to his wife prompts his mistress, Anne, to have an affair with a local actor. The actor later humiliates Albert in public by bragging about his new conquest. Albert's humiliation leads him to attempt suicide, but he cannot escape his fate and the attempt fails. This string of events eventually comes full circle, until Albert once again sets out on the road with Anne, following the only choice fate allows him.
The Naked Night , not surprisingly, considering the subject matter, does not have a happy ending. Obviously 1953 audiences were not ready for this kind of film as it was quite unsuccessful, not just financially but critically. The film was also unsuccessful in Sweden, as well as in most foreign markets. Critics termed the film too "complex" and "depressing." The failure of The Naked Night affected Bergman deeply. He knew he would have to make changes if he was going to continue to find financial backing for his films. As a result, Bergman's next three pictures were comedies ( A Lesson in Love, Dreams , and Smiles of a Summer Night ). These films continued to address the issues of his earlier work (fate, love, etc.), but in a lighter vein. This new approach made his films more popular and critically recognized. The change in the reaction to his films encouraged Bergman to turn toward "serious" films again, such as Persona and Cries and Whispers . In the mid-1960s critics rediscovered Gycklarnas Afton , regarding it in a new, more positive light as one of the most significant films of his career.
—Linda J. Obalil