Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bergman via Guthrie

Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman,

Let's go make a picture
On the island of Stromboli, Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid Bergman, you're so perty,
You'd make any mountain quiver
You'd make my fire fly from the crater
Ingrid Bergman

This old mountain it's been waiting

All ist life for you to work it
For your hand to touch the hardrock,

Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman

If you'll walk across my camera,
I will flash the world your story,

I will pay you more than money, Ingrid Bergman

Not by pennies dimes nor quarters,
But with happy sons and daughters,

And they'll sing around Stromboli, 
Ingrid Bergman

– Ingrid Bergman by Woody Guthrie (1950)

Ingrid Bergman is one of Woody Guthrie's unpublished songs that he never recorded. Bob Dylan, in his autobiography Chronicles Volume One, mentions how Woody told him about a bunch of songs he'd written when Dylan used to visit him in hospital. The songs were left in Guthrie's house on Mermaid Avenue when he died in 1967. In 1998 Billy Bragg and Wilco put the lyrics to music on the album Mermaid Avenue.

I went through a bit of a neo-realist phase back in the day, but Stromboli (1950), though a key film of neo-realism, I always found to be more neo-surrealist. Watch the last ten minutes with Bergman writhing about on the volcano. Magnifico!

The film came about after Ingrid Bergman watched two of director Roberto Rossellini's films, and was so impressed she wrote to him offering her acting services. He replied, and the rest is cinematic history. They would make five films together, the first of which, Stromboli, contains the justly-famous, magnificent fishing scene and the volcano itself, Stromboli (off the coast of Sicily) erupting right on cue for filming.

Behind the scenes things were also erupting, with Rossellini and Bergman embarking on a well-publicised affair when both were married to other people, and Bergman getting pregnant, which caused a huge scandal at the time. Bergman gave birth to a son, Renato. Bergman and Rossillini eventually got their divorces and were able to marry each other. They had two more children, Isabella (model and actress in Lynch's Blue Velvet) and Isotta (professor).

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