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Ages of the Train

Christopher Driver, 8 January 1987

The Railway Station: A Social History 
by Jeffrey Richards and John MacKenzie.
Oxford, 440 pp., £15, April 1986, 0 19 215876 7
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The Railways of Britain: A Journey through History 
by Jack Simmons.
Macmillan, 255 pp., £15.95, May 1986, 0 333 40766 0
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... backdrop to the shunting trains of life itself. When Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca was forsaken by Ingrid Bergman and entrained at the Gare de Lyon, when Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard had their Brief Encounter in Carnforth refreshment room, their audiences were emotionally prepared for the settings. Boarding-school children learnt early to associate ...


Ronan Bennett: My Father, 9 July 1992

... woman in her youth. She was small, slim, with thick brown hair that she wore in the style of Ingrid Bergman. She was not my father’s intellectual equal, nor his social equal. Her own father, born on the Falls Road, was a hard-working, quiet man whose last job was as a boardmarker in a bookie’s. My mother is immensely proud of her father, who ...

Beware of clues!

Joanna Biggs: Geek lit, 21 September 2006

Special Topics in Calamity Physics 
by Marisha Pessl.
Viking, 514 pp., £16.99, September 2006, 0 670 91607 2
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... Truman, I don’t think history would be the same without him. Especially if he had to look up at Ingrid Bergman and say: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”’ Blue is tantalised, especially by the mysterious relationship between Hannah and Charles, but doesn’t go to meet the group. Several letters reiterating the invitation are slid into her locker ...


John Lanchester, 8 March 1990

The Thirsty Muse: Alcohol and the American Writer 
by Tom Dardis.
Abacus, 292 pp., £3.99, February 1990, 0 349 10143 4
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... of Casablanca. ‘Isn’t the Swede beautiful? I mean truly, truly beautiful,’ Hemingway said of Ingrid Bergman. His son agreed. The two men started weeping uncontrollably over Bergman’s beauty. This was in 1955, with six years of decline to go. Hemingway’s slogan, ‘good writers are drinking writers,’ could ...

It’s me, it’s me, it’s me

David Thomson: The Keynotes of Cary Grant, 5 November 2020

Cary Grant: The Making of a Hollywood Legend 
by Mark Glancy.
Oxford, 550 pp., £22.99, October, 978 0 19 005313 0
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Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise 
by Scott Eyman.
Simon and Schuster, 556 pp., £27.10, November, 978 1 5011 9211 1
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... had some kind of breakdown. Thirteen years later, in Notorious, Grant does a magnificent rescue of Ingrid Bergman, carrying her down a dangerous staircase in front of their enemies. But he hadn’t rescued his mother – and did not, even after he discovered the truth. Elias died in December 1935, yet it was July 1936 before Elsie was released from the ...

Seeing Stars

Alan Bennett: Film actors, 3 January 2002

... napkin tucked under his chin and in that all too imitable accent in which he’d said farewell to Ingrid Bergman in Arch of Triumph, he pointed out which of the salads came up to scratch. Actually Ingrid Bergman was there, too, somewhere. Such ancient icons, stars who might now be in decline but who had shone in ...

A Kind of Slither

Michael Wood: Woody Allen, 27 April 2000

The Unruly Life of Woody Allen 
by Marion Meade.
Weidenfeld, 384 pp., £20, February 2000, 0 297 81868 6
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... to stand on a pedestal so he can crash. He was ‘America’s favourite comedy saint’; ‘the Ingrid Bergman of film comedians’. The allusion is to the American public’s surprise when it learned of Bergman’s affair with Roberto Rossellini, but the very idea of a ...


Wayne Koestenbaum: Tennessee Williams, 4 October 2007

Tennessee Williams: Notebooks 
edited by Margaret Bradham Thornton.
Yale, 828 pp., £27.50, February 2007, 978 0 300 11682 3
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... 1949, Williams brings his ‘sore ass’ into linguistic contiguity with his dinner companions Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini: ‘Bergman-Rossolini [sic] rushes – disappointing – sore ass – we all went to Quirinale afterwards. Nobody even seemed to notice Ingrid was ...

Pink and Bare

Bee Wilson: Nicole Kidman, 8 February 2007

Nicole Kidman 
by David Thomson.
Bloomsbury, 311 pp., £18.99, September 2006, 0 7475 7710 2
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... he says, underestimate ‘how truly “smart” and professional she is’. He compares her with Ingrid Bergman and says that, like Bergman, she is one of those rare actresses whose enthusiasm for the avant-garde can get certain pictures financed, and made, and even seen, which might not otherwise be possible. Her ...


Clive James, 21 October 1982

... bound to simplify them when they’re gone. Golda Meir’s reported to have been Transformed by Ingrid Bergman to a swan, But now, with Bergman dead at 65 No one in Casablanca’s left alive. It was a clumsy film with a bum script Yet watching it once more I sit and dream. The cigarettes they smoke aren’t ...

A Particular Way of Looking

J. Hoberman: NeoRealismo, 21 November 2019

NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy 1932-60 
edited by Enrica Viganò.
Prestel, 349 pp., £49.99, September 2018, 978 3 7913 5769 0
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... Gina Lollobrigida. Other stars were imported. Rossellini made a series of movies with his wife, Ingrid Bergman; Visconti’s Senso (1954) paired Alida Valli (returned to Italy from Hollywood) with Farley Granger; De Sica’s Stazione Termini (1953) starred Jennifer Jones and Montgomery Clift. De Sica had originally planned to make Bicycle Thieves with ...

I want to howl

John Lahr: Eugene O’Neill, 5 February 2015

Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts 
by Robert Dowling.
Yale, 569 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 0 300 17033 7
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... I have ever seen in my whole life. They were like wells; you fell into them,’ the 26-year-old Ingrid Bergman said, who had had a success in a San Francisco production of Anna Christie but wouldn’t let O’Neill lure her away from her film ambitions. At O’Neill’s melancholy core was a trifecta of turmoil – loneliness, fury, guilt – from ...


Iain Sinclair: London’s Lost Cinemas, 6 November 2014

... Stromboli (which her former lover, Roberto Rossellini, was shooting on a neighbouring rock with Ingrid Bergman), were challenged. The screening at the Italian Cultural Institute, attended by Muriel Walker, who had been part of the production, and who brought a spellbinding sense of witness, confirmed an episode that was vaguely remembered but ...

Laertes has a daughter

Bee Wilson: The Redgraves, 6 June 2013

The Redgraves: A Family Epic 
by Donald Spoto.
Robson, 361 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84954 394 1
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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty 
by Tim Adler.
Aurum, 336 pp., £20, July 2012, 978 1 84513 623 9
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... work. In 1965 he directed and acted in Turgenev’s A Month in the Country in Guildford opposite Ingrid Bergman. Reviews were not particularly enthusiastic but at least they were respectful. Changing tack, he directed Werther and La Bohème at Glyndebourne. He put in a powerful cameo in Joseph Losey’s The Go-Between in 1970 as the old man, Leo ...

Big Thinks

Rosemary Dinnage, 22 June 2000

Selected Letters of Rebecca West 
edited by Bonnie Kime Scott.
Yale, 497 pp., £22.50, May 2000, 0 300 07904 4
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... are now dead, I think they would have been glad to share some of their memorable comments; on Ingrid Bergman, for instance, ‘a nice soul, but ... common and mannerless ... she might well be a housemaid in a big Hamburg hotel’; on Mary McCarthy, who had ‘a behind built on the lines of a canal barge’. The writer Elizabeth Jenkins was granted a ...

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