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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Classic Film Review: Indiscreet (1958)

I find it odd that Indiscreet was billed as a comedy as well as a romance. Although it has a few comic moments, it's a generally emotional film about actress Anna (Ingrid Bergman) who meets her brother-in-law's potential colleague, Philip (Cary Grant), after coming back unexpectedly from a trip. There is an immediate attraction and Anna accompanies them to the dinner where Philip is giving a speech. When they are left alone later, Philip admits he's married but Anna wants to go out with him anyway. Philip accepts a job in Paris so he can see Anna on weekends and they begin a romance. Unfortunately, Anna finally discovers Philip's deceit - Philip isn't married, he just doesn't ever want to get marriage and so lied about his situation. She then puts on the performance of her life in order to punish him.

There are some beautiful moments in this film. One that stands out for me is when Anna and Philip are reluctant to part after their first date. Philip sees her to the elevator, then into the elevator. As the attendant stands with his back to the camera there is a long look between Anna and Philip - nothing is said but the emotion between them is evident. Bergman and Grant make a perfectly believable couple and there is another wonderful split-screen scene when they are both in their beds talking to each other over the phone. Their romance feels real, which makes Anna's reaction to his marriage all the more explosive.

Special mention must go to the supporting cast in this one. Phyllis Calvert is superb as Anna's sister, Margaret, while her husband is played with a light comic touch by Cecil Parker. In addition, Anna's hired help - husband and wife team (played by David Kossoff and Megs Jenkins - are important to the later plot. There are no superfluous characters which allows the focus to rest on Bergman and Grant throughout. One final note: Anna's apartment struck me as one of the most elegant sets in film, perfectly suited to the character and well utilised for all the important scenes.

This was a beautiful romance with a kick and, as my first introduction to Ingrid Bergman, it was very good. Recommended and not only because Cary Grant dancing is hilarious.

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