Bergman and the business: Notes on the director’s ‘worth in the market’

Olof Hedling

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This chapter discusses Bergman’s potential worth in the commercial film market on the basis of the director’s own correspondence with potential co-producers and international distributors of his films. The author first studies Bergman’s ample correspondence with Carl Anders Dymling, the powerful head of the Swedish production company Svensk Filmindustri between 1942 and 1961; most of Bergman’s early films were produced by Svensk Filmindustri. This correspondence concerns Bergman’s potential turn to the more profitable colour-film format in the early 1960s, a turn resisted by Bergman on artistic grounds; Bergman’s first colour film would eventually be the relatively unknown comedy, All these Women, in 1964. Second, the author examines Bergman’s correspondence with New York agent Bernhard L. Wilens regarding a possible film adaptation of French author Albert Camus’s short novel The Fall (La Chute, 1956). Third, the chapter explores Bergman’s correspondence with his American distributors, Janus Films, who famously specialized in the art-house market. Here, Janus is represented by Cyrus Harvey. Bergman never made a colour film during Dymling’s reign at Svensk Filmindustri, nor did he ever direct a film based on Camus’s novel. He did have a lengthy relationship with Janus Films, however. The chapter demonstrates how Bergman’s conception of himself as an artist conflicted with Hollywood, especially with regard to filmmaking practices. As an auteur in the European tradition, Bergman would always strive for artistic control of the entire production and distribution processes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIngmar Bergman
Subtitle of host publicationAn enduring legacy
EditorsErik Hedling
PublisherLund University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9789198557718
ISBN (Print)9789198557701
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Specific Literatures

Free keywords

  • Ingmar Bergman
  • Swedish cinema


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