GOODBYE AGAIN (AIMEZ-VOUS BRAHMS?)
United Artists, 1961
by Mary Hutchings
This is an Ingrid Bergman
film which has been given little more than passing attention, but which
I believe gave as true an indication of her enormous acting ability as
any of her great successes. Coming after her stunning performance in The
Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958), it was definitely “different,"
but that is what Ingrid
is all about. She could turn her hand to any part - and make it great.
Goodbye Again was released by United
Artists and directed by Anatole Litvak (of Anastasia fame);
it was filmed in Paris, because the story was set in that city, in 1960.
Based on the novel by Francoise Sagan, it concerns a forty year old interior
designer (Ingrid), her
lover of five years, (Yves Montand) and the son of one of her clients,
played by Anthony Perkins. Paula (Ingrid)
is a successful businesswoman, with her own shop; outwardly a typical sophisticated
Parisian. She dresses beautifully (in Christian Dior creations) and appears
to want for nothing. But she is unhappy. Roger, her lover, is frequently
unfaithful with an assortment of silly young girls-- all of whom he calls
Maisie. This in itself is incredible, considering the unique beauty of
the ever-amazing Ingrid--
and is a weakness of the story. How could anyone be unfaithful to Ingrid?
Philip (Anthony Perkins), is at first interested when he meets Paula
at his mother’s house-- she is going to arrange the redecoration of the
place. He gives her a lift back to her shop, and we can see the interest
developing into something deeper. As he says to his boss’s secretary, when
he finally arrives at work, “I met someone today.” “I know,” she replies,
“The most beautiful girl in the world.” “No-- a woman-- warm, charming--
and yet sad. There was a deep sadness in her eyes.” Oh, how well we know
Ingrid can show that sadness!
I shall not spoil your enjoyment of the movie by continuing with
the story. I would have loved to see a happy ending, but it seems that
love affairs between 40 year old women and 25 year old men are always doomed.
I can’t think why, particularly in this case, because I always want Ingrid
to emerge happy at the end of a movie! Another reason is that Ingrid
simply did not look middle-aged, despite the sophisticated wardrobe and
Goodbye Again was not a British-made film, but it seems to
slot nicely in with the batch of serious films being made in black and
white at that time. It was the depth of the stories and the brilliance
of the acting which were important, not the colourful splendour. One such
British film was Room at the Top, in which a mature woman (brilliantly
played by Simone Signoret) has an affair with a younger man (Laurence Harvey)--
again, a relationship doomed to end in tragedy.
Anyone who has not seen Goodbye Again should watch it. Ingrid
is magnetic, as always, and shows the vulnerability we saw in some of her
earlier films. Dilys Powell summed it up in her review in The Sunday
Times (London): “The indestructible inner grace of Miss Bergman
wins me every time, and here she is at her most magical.”
© 1998 Mary Hutchings.
"With thanks to Elizabeth for letting me speak through her page yet
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