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A Vogue profile celebrating William’s performance in “My Week With Marilyn” last fall mentioned that “one of her idols, an actress turned director whose memoir Williams had been carrying around with her wherever she went, offered her a role in an upcoming film adaptation of a nineteenth-century stage classic.” At the time, though, the actress asked Vogue to withhold the details as the project was “just too precious” to her but the publication did tease readers by saying of all the movies Williams has made about relationships, this one “turns out the worst.” We’re short of finding a picture of Williams carrying around an Ullmann biography but an actress-turned-director (Yes) helming a 19th century stage classic (Yes) that has a tragic love story as its heart (Yes)? Strindberg’s play follows the titular character as she navigates her way through the oppressive society and begins a relationship with a senior servant at her father’s estate.
The play has seen several adaptations in the past including a Alf Sjöberg-helmed 1951 Swedish-language version, a 1987 television adaptation starring Janet Mc Teer and a 1999 film by Mike Figgis starring Saffron Burrows and Peter Mullan.
I hope that it will be released on DVD soon and become available for all admirers of Liv Ullmann and of funny and clever romantic comedies.
Liv Ullmann's adaptation of August Strindberg's play might best be billed as a midsummer night's sex tragedy. The action has been moved from Sweden to Ireland, 1890.
In fact, Liv Ullmann may be unable to step out of the habits and roles that she learned as a child.I've read some comments that Liv was miscast and was not comfortable playing such a light comedy after all the profound and tragic characters she had played for Bergman. For me, one of the most memorable scenes of the film is the one after Liv (Ann) returns home from her vacation and is asked what Greece was like?Ann turns to face a camera, smiles, and says, "Greece glows under the sun" - but it is her face, her smile, her eyes that glow.Ann quietly disappears into the early morning hours, leaving him with the memories of the night and nothing else - no address or telephone number.Peter later returns to New York, where one evening he arrives to pick up a date for the evening. What follows is, IMO, funny and charming romantic comedy with wonderful supporting performances from Gene Kelly (as Ann's first annoying husband), Binnie Barnes and Deborah Raffin.