INGRID BERGMAN: My Story by Ingrid & Alan Burgess Bergman
Kirkus Star

INGRID BERGMAN: My Story

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ingrid's own story. . . sort of. For unexplained reasons, only about half of this book is Ingrid herself remembering--in a nicely no-nonsense, often witty voice--while the rest, interspersed, is mostly the stuff of celeb-bio hackwork: interviews, padding, and fill-in narration larded with fan-mag pulp (""the lovers drove in their scarlet chariot across enchanted terrain""). The result? A disjointed, involving/annoying mishmash. Ingrid begins on the 1948 night that she saw Roberto Rossellini's Open City--which led to the love/misery that dominates the book--but then flashes back to: Swedish girlhood full of family death and insecurity; drama school, early films, marriage at 21 to dentist Petter Lindstrom; arrival in Hollywood, where she refused to alter her name or unmade-up face (D. Selznick, who ate while ""lying on"" the kitchen table, made the most of this); fights against typecasting; doing Casablanca without a full script (was she supposed to be in love with Bogart or Henreid?); starring with natural Gary Cooper, erudite (but short) Charles Boyer, distant Bing Crosby. But homelife with jealous, fearsome Petter and baby Pia wasn't good: ""I think I was just waiting for someone to come along and help me out of that marriage, because I didn't have the strength to go."" And--after an affair with photographer Bob Capa (who didn't want to be tied down) and unwanted courtship from H. Hughes--enter freewheeling genius-director Roberto, who answered a fan letter from Ingrid by coming to Hollywood, winning her love, and taking her off to Europe to film Stromboli. A global scandal--made far worse by quick pregnancy and by Ingrid's apparent blitheness about living in sin and deserting Pia: ""I suppose I know I should and could have gone back to America. . . to talk Petter into a divorce and then to see Pia. But no one will really understand the force and fury of Roberto's will."" Legal wrangles, the hounding press, painful tries at seeing Pia, bad films with wild Roberto (who'd soon leave her and battle for custody of their children). . . then comebacks on stage and screen, another marriage (failed but cordial), and untearful battles with breast cancer. It's quite a story, amplified by old letters full of anguished immediacy, so--despite the nearly-disastrous potpourri style of presentation--it'll be the celebrity book of the season.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 1980
Publisher: Delacorte