Dick Cavett’s Wide-Ranging TV Interview with Ingmar Bergman and Lead Actress Bibi Andersson (1971)

Many film fans wish we could have a direc­tor like Ing­mar Bergman work­ing today. Just as many tele­vi­sion fans sure­ly wish we could have a talk show host like Dick Cavett work­ing today. But both Bergman, who died in 2007, and Cavett, who still writes but seems to have put tele­vi­su­al pur­suits behind him, pro­duced sub­stan­tial bod­ies of work. And, thanks to the inter­net, you can expe­ri­ence their films and broad­casts even more eas­i­ly than when they first appeared. Take, for instance, this 1971 Dick Cavett Show episode fea­tur­ing the curi­ous and dry-wit­ted con­ver­sa­tion­al­ist’s inter­view with the Swedish mak­er of such pic­tures still viewed wide­ly and enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly as The Sev­enth Seal, The Vir­gin Spring, Per­sona, and Fanny and Alexan­der. No enthu­si­ast of seri­ous con­ver­sa­tion about film would want to miss the hour when these two men’s worlds col­lide. But we get an insight into more than these men’s worlds: part­way through the episode, and to the delight of Bergman’s fans, actress Bibi Ander­s­son turns up.

Even­tu­al­ly to star in more than ten Bergman pic­tures, includ­ing Per­sona, The Magi­cian, and The Pas­sion of Anna, Ander­s­son appears osten­si­bly in pro­mo­tion of her and Bergman’s then-most recent col­lab­o­ra­tion, The Touch. “Does he under­stand women?” Cavett sud­den­ly asks Ander­s­son, who replies with every inter­view­er’s bête noire, the one-word answer: “Yes.” Bergman then explains his con­vic­tion that women pos­sess greater nat­ur­al act­ing abil­i­ty and com­fort with the craft than men do. “Act­ing,” he says, “is a very spe­cial wom­an’s pro­fes­sion.” The full con­ver­sa­tion reveals more about the film­mak­er’s sur­pris­ing fem­i­nism, as well as his child­hood fear of movies, his life­long fear of drugs, his views on punc­tu­al­i­ty, his on-set tem­per, his strug­gles with rest­less leg syn­drome, the pride he takes in his soap com­mer­cials, his home­land’s sup­posed pre­pon­der­ance of beau­ti­ful women, and how many more films he intends to make. “Five, maybe six,” the direc­tor guess­es. “Make it six, could you?” asks the host. He end­ed up mak­ing twelve.

All parts of Ing­mar Bergman on The Dick Cavett Show: part one, part two, part three, part four, part five, part six

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ing­mar Bergman’s Soap Com­mer­cials Wash Away the Exis­ten­tial Despair

How Woody Allen Dis­cov­ered Ing­mar Bergman, and How You Can Too

Woody Allen Lists the Great­est Films of All Time: Includes Clas­sics by Bergman, Truf­faut & Felli­ni

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.