New Release: Smiles of a Summer Night Blu-ray

Smiles of a Summer Night movie scene

Ulla Jacobsson (l.) and Eva Dahlbeck enjoy the evening in Smiles of a Summer Night.

Smiles of a Summer Night (Sommarnattens leende), the 1955 comedy romance by Ingmar Bergman (The Magician), was issued on Blu-ray disc for the very first time by the Criterion Collection on May 3, 2011, for a list price of $39.95.

The breakout movie that established the Swedish master filmmaker around the world (following the 15 previous movies he had directed), Smiles of a Summer Night focuses on four men and four women of different classes in turn-of-the-century Sweden attempting to navigate the laws of attraction.

During a weekend in the country, the women collude to force the men’s hands in matters of the heart, exposing their pretensions and insecurities along the way. Filled with flirtatious propositions and sharp witticisms delivered by such Swedish screen legends as Gunnar Björnstrand (The Seventh Seal) and Harriet Andersson (Through a Glass Darkly), Smiles of a Summer Night is one of cinema’s great erotic comedies.

Cinephiles will note that the foreign movie served as the inspiration for the Broadway musical and subsequent film A Little Night Music, as well as Woody Allen’s (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) 1982 movie A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy.

Here’s a list of the bonus features on the Blu-ray, most of which appeared on Criterion’s DVD edition of the film, which was released back in 2004:

  • video introduction to the film by Bergman
  • video conversation between Bergman scholar Peter Cowie and writer Jörn Donner, executive producer of Fanny and Alexander
  • original theatrical trailer
  • booklet featuring an essay by theater and film critic John Simon and a 1961 review by film critic Pauline Kael


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.