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Smiles of a Summer Night
The Criterion Collection

review by Zach B.



Not Rated

Running Time: 108 Minutes

Starring: Gunnar Bjornstrand, Harriet Andersson

Written and Directed by: Ingmar Bergman


Studio: Criterion

Retail Price: $39.95

Features: Ingmar Bergman Introduction, Peter Cowie and Jorn Donner Conversation, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen 1080p High Definition, Swedish PCM Mono, English Subtitles, Chapters (28 Chapters)

Released: May 3rd, 2011

Smiles of a Summer Night is presented in a 1080p High Definition transfer, with the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It's great to have this film in glorious high definition, and while it's not a flawless transfer, it is pretty amazing given it's 56 year-old age. I'll get the less desirable aspects out of the way first: there's a good deal of shimmering, blemishes and dirt pieces are on the print, and at times it can be a bit on the soft side. Otherwise though, the black-and-white cinematography is resoundingly sharp, and the spread of the film grain makes for a refined image. As usual, another superb transfer from Criterion.

Smiles of a Summer Night features an uncompressed Swedish Mono track. Obviously, this is a straightforward track, but it definitely gets the job done. The movie sounds rather crisp, as there are no audio defects — such as hissing and distortion — whatosever. Dialogue is clear, and the film's sound effects chime in nicely. The musical cues, which feature a choir and harp, sound lovely as well. Fidelity is high on this track. In all, no complaints.

English subtitles are included.


Lasting about 4 minutes is an Introduction from Ingmar Bergman. Prompted by journalist Marie Nyrerod (in what must be footage culled from her film Bergman Island), the late filmmaker reflects on the movie, namely its surprise success, what it meant in his career and how he had no idea the film was even entered in Cannes. Certainly worthy of any viewer's time. 

The Peter Cowie and Jorn Donner Conversation makes up the meat of the supplements here. Cowie (a Bergman scholar) and Donner (who was an executive producer on "Fanny and Alexander") discuss the importance of the film in Bergman's canon, it's comedic aspects and its success at Cannes, among other things. Both men are intelligent, articulate and offer some good information and insights during its 17 minute runtime. 

Also on the disc is the Original Theatrical Trailer that was shown in Sweden. The booklet has a Pauline Kael review, and an essay from John Simon. 


Smiles of a Summer Night
is an important film in Ingmar Bergman's filmography, and for those only familiar with the filmmaker's dramatic work, this is a piece that shows a very clever and lighter side. This Blu-ray edition is a port of the 2003 DVD. The supplements are good but sparse, so the only reason to upgrade is for the uncompressed mono track and new high-def transfer. If you're a big fan of the film and/or Bergman, then this should have a spot on your shelf.