Movie Stars: Bergman, Ingrid–The Natural

One of the main reasons ”Notorious,” Hitchcock’s classic of 1946, remains so timely, is Ingrid Bergman herself–or rather her public screen persona.

Like other movies, such as the 1943 Oscar-winning “Casablanca,” her “naturalness” was crucial to the film’s overall impact and success. As she recalls in her book, Bergman’s being launched as a ”natural” actress was the brainstorm of mega-producer David O. Selznick’s (“Gone With the Wind”), who had signed her to her first Hollywood contract.

In 1939, when Bergman was brought to Hollywood for the remake of her Swedish film, ”Intermezzo’,” it mostly meant leaving her lush eyebrows unplucked and her Swedish name unchanged. But, as Janet Maslin has noted, by the time of ”Notorious,” Bergman, then one of Hollywood’s most popular stars, had also come to embody humor, honesty, sensuality, intelligence, and unaffected manner.

Bergman looked like–and was a bona fide–movie star, but without the temperamental personality and inherent instability that often go along with being a celeb.