Harriet Andersson, Bergman’s most blatant erotic symbol, is unquestionably the most dramatic and forthright character in Journey Into Autumn. Sandwiched between A Lesson in Love and Smiles of a Summer Night, it has tended to be left in the shadows by the pyrotechnics of the other works of Bergman’s ‘middle period’, but it is a beautifully marshalled film, narrating the fruitless efforts of two couples to establish satisfactory relationships between themselves.
Susanne (Eva Dahlbeck) and Doris (Andersson) are the proprietor and leading model respectively of a fashion salon in Stockholm. During a visit to Gothenburg, Susanne attempts to rekindle the love of a middle-aged businessman, while Doris is courted pathetically by a dignified but elderly Consul. The two episodes are dovetailed cleverly into one another, so that by the end of the film several connections between them have become apparent (the Swedish title literally means Women’s Dreams, which emphasises the contrast between yearning and disillusionment governing the parallel stories).
1955.English subtitles.Black and white.86 mins.