Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I'm not sure why it took me so long to watch Intermezzo.  Ingrid Bergman and Leslie Howard are two of my favorite actors.  I didn't love it as much as I love other films they've each made--it's a love story, and a bit on the soapy side--but it was still worth watching.  Howard plays a famous concert violinist who falls in love with his daughter's piano teacher, played by Bergman. The movie came out in 1939 and was Bergman's first American film.  (She had already starred, three years earlier, in the original Swedish language version of the film, playing the same role.)

Bergman's wardrobe in this film is by Irene (a.k.a. Irene Lentz).  She is not as famous today as Edith Head or Adrian, but during Hollywood's golden age she was well-known as a designer of both elegant dresses and sophisticated, well-tailored, California style women's wear.  (She is possibly best remembered for the "scandalous" shorts and cropped top worn by Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice.)  

I love the dress Bergman is wearing here:  the large, contrasting collar, military style buttons and cinched-in waist with wide belt.  Bergman is so young and sweet-looking; this dress gives her piano teacher character a bit of gravitas.

Gratuitous tuxedo shot of Leslie Howard.

Bergman in a light colored pinafore style dress that emphasizes her youth. . . 

. . . especially when contrasted with the darker, more sophisticated-looking dress worn here by Edna Best, who plays Howard's wife.

This is, I think, one of just two evening gowns worn by Bergman in the film.  Notice again the belt and large buckle detail at the waist.

Despite its soapy ending, Intermezzo is worth watching for Bergman and Howard, and for the lovely music in the film.  Additionally, the cinematography is gorgeous.  I will always be a sucker for a lamplit foggy evening in a European city.  And there is just a hint at the terrible times to come for Europe during this scene when Howard says something to Bergman about "the time when Vienna was a happy city."

I have a small obsession with bar and restaurant scenes in 1930s and 1940s films.

Okay, back to the clothes.  My favorite outfits, of course, were those worn by Bergman when she and Howard are on holiday.  My screenshots aren't the greatest, but I love the skirts, pants and casual slingbacks she wears.

Those pockets!

This--the pants, the belt, the scarf/tie--is my favorite!  And those stripes on Howard are awfully cute.  It's interesting how here--just when they are at the pinnacle of happiness, which is about to disappear--Bergman looks so powerful and in control.  And Howard looks a bit like a little boy.

Some serious 1930s pouf action on those sleeves.  Bergman has decided she must let Howard go.  To say goodbye (although he doesn't yet know it's goodbye), she wears, arguably, the most romantic-looking outfit of the film.

The fabric those sleeves are made from really is gorgeous.  I think it's lace (click on the pic to see it bigger).  I love the echo here of their previous scene in the train station, where they were supposed to say goodbye and didn't.  Now they are saying goodbye for good. . . though Howard doesn't know it yet.



  1. I love your movie reviews! I saw Intermezzo years ago, but I'm thinking it might be time to see it again.

    1. Thanks, Lizzie! Even if it's not their best, you can't really go wrong watching Bergman or Howard, I don't think. (And the clothes really are good!)


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