Notorious: The Life of Ingrid Bergman

Donald Spoto, Author HarperCollins Publishers $27.5 (496p) ISBN 978-0-06-018702-6
The life of acting legend and legendary beauty Ingrid Bergman is given major treatment in this detailed and elegantly written volume by veteran film biographer Spoto (Rebel, etc.). Although there are no great revelations, Spoto gives a full and rounded portrait of the actress, from her difficult childhood in Sweden (where she lost both parents at an early age), through her early career as a Swedish film star, to her ascension to Hollywood stardom as the leading lady of such actors as Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant. Particular attention is given to her work with Alfred Hitchcock (Notorious and Spellbound). Bergman was a consummate professional, according to Spoto, hard-working, disciplined and dedicated, even while her personal life was tumultuous. Often drawn to older, paternal men, Bergman was also prone to passionate affairs with such charismatic men as Gary Cooper, director Victor Fleming, photographer Robert Capa and musician Larry Adler. The heart of the book consists of Spoto's sympathetic account of her scandalous (at the time) relationship with Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini while married to Peter Lindstrom, and her fall from professional grace as a result. Spoto's unblinkered compassion pays off as Bergman works her way back up from public approbation to become, again, an international star. Well-researched and evenhanded, this is a warm portrait of a woman who managed to be both a great actress and a cultural icon. Photos not seen by PW. $40,000 ad/promo; author tour. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/02/1997
Release date: 06/01/1997
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