Intermezzo (1939): Ingrid Bergman’s American Debut, Romantic Melodrama

Gregory Ratoff directed this David O. Selznick’s production, the American remake of the Swedish film, starring Ingrid Bergman, who recreates her role.

Based on the original screenplay by Molander and Gosta Stevens, the well-acted melodrama concerns a love affair played out between an older and established concert violinist, Holger Brandt (Leslie Howard), and a young pianist, Anita Hoffman (Ingrid Bergman).

After his tour, Holger returns to his home country, wife Margit (Edna Best), and children, Ann Marie (Ann Todd) and Eric (Douglas Scott).  Predictably, he falls in love with Anita, his daughter’s piano teacher. Holger asks Margit for a divorce, but his wife asks him to reconsider his feelings.

Holger and Anita travel abroad, and Anita becomes acclaimed as a pianist, and Holger begins to have second thoughts about his affair and marriage.

Ingrid Bergman was spotted by Kay Brown, Selznick’s influential story editor in New York, after she saw her in the Swedish film.

Initially William Wyler was assigned to direct and lenser Harry Stradling to shoot, but they were fired by the control-freak Selznick.

Oscar Nominations: 2

Cinematography (b/w): Gregg Toland

Score: Lou Forbes

Oscar Awards: None

The Scoring Oscar went to the team that wrote the music for Stagecoach.

Toland won the Cinematography Oscar for another film he shot, Wuthering Heights.


Directed by Gregory Ratoff

Written by George O’Neil, Gösta Stevens

Released: September 22, 1939

DVD: October 19, 2004