Ingrid Bergman


  1. Betty Field, Victory, 1939.      Fredric March ran into Ingrid at a party given  by producer David O Selznick – and immediately asked her to join him in the third Paramount  version of the Joseph Conrad novel since 1919.   No thank you, said Bergman.  Or was it Selznick? Cecil C De Mille rejected the project. “I managed to read it all… Just not interesting enough to bother with a film.” .”  And yet the Harrison’s Reports called it “somewhat sordid… somewhat brutal.” So right up CB’s street.
  2. Mary Astor, The Maltese Falcon, 1940.      Who didn’t want to be Brigid O’Shaugnessy:  “I’ve been bad, worse than you could know.”  She was the film noir Scarlett O’Hara and three of the potential Scarlett women were in the mix: Joan Bennett, Paulette Goddard, Brenda Marshall. Also delighted at being seen were: Bergman, Olivia de Havilland, Betty Field, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Janet Gaynor, Rita Hayworth. The rest were livid about not being good enough for bad Brigid… and her just desserts. “If you’re a good girl, you’ll be out in 20 years,” Bogie’s her.  “I’ll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I’ll always remember you.” As for Bogie and Bergman, they’ll always have Casablanca
  3. Lana Turner, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 1941.     Both stars made the film, after swopping roles.  Ingrid was booked as the good doctor’s fiancee.  She preferred the bad mister’s whore. MGM agreed after rejecting  Spencer Tracy’s idea of both  roles played by  his nursemaid, Katharine Hepburn.
  4. Anne Baxter, Five Graves To Cairo,  1942.     As David’s Selznick International began making less – certainly, lesser – films, it turned  into a talent agency, renting out its contracted stars. Selznick OK’d Bergman going to Paramount for Billy Wilder’s second Hollywood film. Then, new French important Simone Simon was thought better (ie cheaper)  for Mouche. Finally, Baxter  became the chambermaid.  Didn’t stop the movie being stolen by Erich von Stroheim as an overly ornate Rommel. 
  5. Ann Richards, An American Romance,  1943.     When losing Bergman from the finale of his “war, wheat, and steel” trilogy  (after The Big Parade and Our Daily Bread), director King Vidor saw Frances Giffford and Ann Sothern for the ultra-US story. (Earlier titles had been America, American Miracle, The Magic Land, This Is America, An American Story). In fact, poor Vidor thought he had an understanding with MGM that Spencer Tracy and d Bergman would co-star. Metro did not agree and he was kissed off with Richards and Brian Donlevy. Oh joy! OK, it was King’s story but he was King  by name, not by majesty.
  6. Rosa Stradner, The Keys of the Kingdom, 1944.     Gregory Peck’s debut had not opened and Fox production boss Darryl Zanuck needed a name as the Reverend Mother Maria Veronica to bolster him. Finally, Fox conceded it did not have a strong enough role for her. Co-writer Nunnally Johnson reported how writer-producer Joseph L Mankiewicz “practically got down on his knees” for his wife, Stradner: “This will save or doom my marriage.” Mankiewicz firmly denied it but she got the part. And the couple stayed wed until her1958 death. Bergman was a nun later in The Bells of St Mary’s opposite Father Bing Crosby. But not after offering her services to Italian maestro Roberto Rossellini…
  7. Merle Oberon, This Love Of Ours, 1944.       Universal grabbed the rights to the Pirandello play for Charles Boyer – and, suggested director William Dieterle, why not Ingrid Bergman? They passed it over to Oberon and, why not, Claude Rains.
  8. Olivia De Havilland, To Each His Own, 1946.        The replacement got the Oscar.
  9. Valerie Hobson, Great Expectations, 1945.   Vengeance is mine…  In 1934, Hobson had been selected as the young Estella – then suddenly dropped and replaced.  Eleven  years later, she  won the adult Estella in the third screen version – despite being too old at 28 and  much better suited to her  second role of the girl’s mother, Molly. This was David Lean’s perfect rendition of the  Dickens classic. Then again, Hobson  was younger than her rivals – Margaret Lockwood, 29, and Lean’s first choice, Ingrid Bergman was 30.
  10. Alida Valli, The Paradine Case, 1946.    Greta Garbo said no. Bergman said no. So, Valli won new teeth, diet and lingo lessons and lost her Christian name in a below par David Se   lznick production that director Alfred Hitchcock was play disinterested in.

  11. Loretta Young, The Farmer’s Daughter, 1947.       And again. But no Oscar regrets. “For me, to play my own part as a Swedish girl was not what I wanted to do.” Juhani Tervap’s Finnish play had become Katie for Congress and headed for Bergman until she and her US mentor, producer David O Selznick, fell out. . Juhani Tervap’s Finnish play had become Katie for Congress and headed for Bergman until she and her US mentor, producer Dav id O Selznick, fell out. Young took over. Despite flu and a terrible Swedish accent she won an Oscar.   A real Swede finally played Katie – no, Katy! – in the 1963-1966 TV series.
  12. Judy Garland, The Pirate, 1947.    MGM snapped up SN Behrman’s play for… let’s see now, more stars than in the heavens above…    So how about them Minivers: Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon? Garson or Myrna Loy plus Cary Grant plus Charles Laughton… Or, the Notorious Grant and Ingrid Bergman couple… or William Powell and Hedy Lamarr?  Hey, we’re MGM!  Why not a musical? With Judy Garland and… er… John Hodiak? They got on real swell in The Harvey Girls. He can’t really sing ‘n’ dance?  And Bergman can’t sing? OK!  Gene Kelly and Judy – imploding or not! And so it came to pass. Uneasily… The Minnellis (Judy and director Vincente) were at each other’s creative throats. LB Mayer ordered the Judy-Kelly Voodoo number burnt: it was too torrid. (Judy-Kelly were torrid?). In fact, LB hated it all, calling it high-brow and extremely pretentious. But that’’s Kelly  – and Minnelli – in a nutshell. Metro lost $2m. Including for the first time in any Hollywood budget, paying a shrink. For Judy.
  13. Alida Valli, The Miracle of the Bells, 1947.      Naturally, the same year’s Joan of Ark was in the mix for the Polish actress dying upon completion of her Joan of Ark film in Hollywood.   Producer Jesse Lasky even nearly took a chance on the unknown Jane Garth, who had recently  played the role on-stage. Also seen for the surprisingly limp version of Russell Janney’s novel were Barbara Bel Geddes, Joan Fontaine, Greer Garson, Jennifer Jones and ballerina Ricky Soma.  No, no,  for a Polish girl,  you need…an Italian!
  14. Olivia De Havilland, The Snake Pit, 1948.   “I know what I turned down,” she told film-maker Anatole Litvak after De Havilland’s Oscar.  “It all takes place in an insane asylum and I couldn’t bear that.  It was a very good part but if I’d played it, I wouldn’t have got an Oscar.” De Havilland’s sister, Joan Fontaine, Ginger Rogers and Gene Tierney had also been in the loop.
  15. Corinne Calvert, Rope of Sand, 1948.      Producer Hal Wallis wanted the full Casablanca monty.   He only managed to get Paul Henried, Peter Lorre and Claude Rains – looking lost without Bogiet and Ingrid. Burt Lancaster hated the movie – not helped by Calvet throwing up over him.  She took the day off and he never mentioned it on her return. In fact, she said, he gave her much encouragement, leading to her 40-year success in La La Land.
  16. Bette Davis, All About Eve, 1949.
  17. Anna Neagle, Odette, 1950.       Foolish slip (like Michèle Morgan’s), refusing the true French war heroine.  But then Herbert Wilcox was more attuned to directing Anna  – his wife.
  18. Jane Wyman, The Blue Veil, 1951.         Both Greta Garbo and Bergman rejected the re-make of Gaby Morlay’s Maternelle.
  19. Jean Simmons, The Robe, 1952.  Ingrid, Jennifer Jones and Janet Leigh were seen for  Richard Burton’s girl,  Diana, in  the first (released) CinemaScope movie. Actually, Debra Paget was signed, but proved pregnant.  It’s still her face on the poster. Or so says the legend. For me, the face does not resemble Debra or Jean. . There was more drama off-screen…  Simmons had an affair with Burton, who was then warned off by her husband Stewart Granger. With a gun
  20. Olivia De Havilland, Not As A Stranger, 1954.      Bergman was – naturally – first choice for Kristina Hedvigson, Dr Robert Mitchum’s Swedish wife. Stanley Kramer producd and, alas, directed the turgid mess. No wonder Montgomery Clift refused Mitchum’s medico.

  21. Alida Valli, Senso, 1953.     When maestro Mario Soldati planned it as Uragano d’estate, his dream team was Bergman and Marlon Brando. Luchino Visconti agreed when he made his move on the project. “The Americans wouldn’t have Brando,” recalled scenarist Suso Cecchi d’Amico, “as he wasn’t famous yet. They were pushing Fairley Granger. I don’t remember why Bergman did not stay – perhaps another film. I never thought she was right for the part. Alida Valli was a logical choice to maintain an international balance: an Italian actress v an American actor.” Truth is that the married Ingrid’s “scandalous” lover was another Italian film-maker –  Roberto Rossellini  –  and so very jealous and  refusing to let her work for  anyone but himself.” Granger was dubbed by Enrico Maria Salerno. Visconti’s main assistants were Francesco Rosi and Franco Zeffirelli.
  22. Jennifer Jones, Stazione Termini/Indiscretions of an American Wife, Italy, 1954.    Roberto Rossellini’s heavy hand made sure Bergman never arrived in Paris to join Gérard Philipe.
  23. Katharine Hepburn, Summertime, 1954.  It started as a 1952 Broadway hit called The Time of the Cuckoo by the great Arthur Laurents.  Dumpy Shirley Booth won a Tony award as the Ohio finding romance in Venice. Italian maestro Roberto Rossellini saw it as a perfect film for his “scandalous:” wife, Ingrid Bergman (!). But the UK’s brilliant David Lean saw it as a perfect film for him!  And, of course. Kate – as another of her spinsters for all reasons. (Olivia De Havilland had been talked of). Lean adored Venice (he made it shimmer). Kate adored Lean– even sitting in on the editing to continue watching his artistry at work.”It was a very emotional part,” she  wrote in her memoirs.  “But it was thrilling… Wasn’t I lucky to work with him?”
  24. Maureen O’Hara, The Magnificent Matador, 1955.     Ingrid wrote to Budd Boetticher expressing great interest in  his  follow-up script to his Oscar-nominated Bullfighter and the Lady, 1951 – as long as it was  made by the last director she had written to.   Rossellini.
  25. Dorothy Maguire, Friendly Persuasion, 1956.   Gary Cooper’s attitude was if he was going to be laughed at by all America for playing a Quaker patriarch then, at least, let him have Ingrid for a wife. She didn’t agree. Cooper hated Maguire,  their “son” Anthony Perkins and the film. “A boring piece of crap,”  Maybe that’s why it was Ronald Reagan’s favourite movie.
  26. Deborah Kerr, An Affair To Remember, 1956.  Given the availability choice of Ingrid, Doris Day or Deborah Kerr, Cary Grant voted for Kerr in the first of their three films.  They got on so well – and with director Leo McCarey’s relaxed shooting style – they improvised various scenes. McCarey also directed the original of this film, Love Affair, in 1938.  (He preferred the first version –  as solemn as its star Charles Boyer). Later that year, Grant partnered Bergman in Indiscreet – and made two rom-coms with Doris in 1961: Lover Come Back and That Touch of Mink.. He  looked so good at 57, he made  Doris look rather more than her demure 39..  In the second re- make (more like re-hash), in 1993, Warren Beatty and his wife Annette Benning played the couple. Aamir Khan-Manisha Koirala were in the third version, 1998… Made in Bollywood.
  27. Jean Seberg, St Joan, 1957.       George Bernard Shaw’s attempt to film his play as part of a three-movie Rank deal in 1942, fell apart when the Irishman’s favourite had the temerity to adapt Maxwell Anderson’s play, Joan The Maid, into Joan of Arc, 1948.  GBS never made his version and the rights fell  to Otto Preminger.
  28. Sophia Loren, The Key, 1958.       “Acting?” said Bergman. ”Keep it simple. Make a blank face and the music and the story will fill it in.”
  29. Ava Gardner, On The Beach,  1959.    Ava wanted $500,000. Too rich for producer-director Stanley Kramer.  He started talking to Ingrid.  Ava came to heel and, having lost him for her previous film, The Naked Maja, she joined  Gregory  Peck, her 1952 partner for The Snows of Kilimanjaro.
  30. Deborah Kerr, The Grass Is Greener, 1959.       Kay Kendall died of leukaemia before filming began and Ingrid asked to  be the wife of  Cary Grant (in the role originally set for Kendall’s husband, Rex Harrison). As an English countess?  Kerr called: “What about me?”

  31. Jean Simmons, Spartacus, 1960.   It’s only an epic, Ingrid! She was not alone in refusing to be Kirk Douglas’ lover, Varinia. Audrey Hepburn, Elsa Martinelli (she’d made The Indian Fighter with Douglas in 1955) and Jeanne Moreau also backed off. As did Simmons until asked to replace the unsatisfactory German, Sabine Bethman.
  32. Bette Davis, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? 1962. Sisters, sisters, such horrendous sisters…  Bette Davis is Baby Jane Hudson, ex-child star, still jealous of her sister Joan Crawford’s better, well longer, career and deciding to do something diabolical about it.  In case the two bitter enemies couldn’t face working together (Davis even  tried to grab the rights and produce the film sans Crawford!), the could have been Ingrjd Bergman and Tallulah Bankhead or Ginger Rogers and Marlene Dietrich, to name just four earlier possibilities. (There are more). Bette and producer William Frye tried to persuade Alfred Hitchcock to tackle what became known as hagsploitation. He was too busy (editing Psycho, prepping The Birds), besides he’d long since workedsimply for himself. Other nearly Baby Janes were Susan Hayward, Rita Hayworth, Kathrine Hepburn, Jennifer Jones,  Plus Agnes Moorhead, in a 1960 version with Jennifer West; Agnes joined the sorta-sequel,  Hush…Hush,Sweet Charlotte, 1964.
  33. Lilli Palmer, Julia, Du bist zauberhaft, Austria-France, 1962.       What  began as a British Bergman vehicle for director Carol Reed, wound  up a far heavier-handed Austro-French comedy from director Alfred Weidenmann.  
  34. Loretta Young, The Farmer’s Daughter, 1963.   Gone With The Wind producer David O Selznick was first to obtain the rights of the Swedish play, Juurakon Hulda, by Hella Wuolijoki. As the titular woman was also Swedish, he naturally offered it to Bergman.  She backed off because of Film City rumours about her having an affair with Joseph Cotton. Also turned down by ice-skater Sonja Henie and Dorothy  McGuire, DOS sold the piece to RKO, where Loretta’s co-star was… Cotten.
  35. Ava Gardner, The Night of the Iguana, 1963.    Nipping in quick, producer Ray Stark paid $500,000 for the new Tennessee Williams play – before it opened as his last  Broadway hit in 1961.  With Bette Davis and Patrick O’Neal   as Maxine and the Reverend Shannon, unfrocked for calling God a senile delinquent.  Whilethey were thought of for the movie (by John Huston), Ingrid’s name came up. Plus Nancy Kwan, Stark’s Suzie Wong discovery.   But so did that of Ava Gardner and Richard Burton. Game over. Future stage couplings were Eleanor Parker-Richard Chamberlain, Eileen Atkins-Alfred Molina, Clare Higgins-Woody Harrelson, and Anna Gunn-Clive Owen. 
  36. Elizabeth Taylor, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966.    Before Queen Liz made it her personal best performance (more so than Suddenly Las Summer??), the earlier choices for Martha were Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Patricia Neal, Rosalind Russell… and Katharine Hepburn, who told the playwright Edward Albee: “This play is much better than I am.”  When directors John Frankenheimer and Fred Zinneman fell out,  Broadway king Mike Nichols made it his first film.  Liz approved him. Of course, she did. He and the Burtons had the same agent:  Robbie Lantz.
  37. Anne Bancroft, The Graduate, 1967.    
  38. Kim Hunter, Planet of the Apes, 1967.
  39. Sandy Dennis, That Cold Day in the Park, 1968.   With agent George Litto back in his corner (already setting up M*A*S*H) and a new partner in Donald Factor, rich son of richer Max, Robert Altman had Gillian Freeman script the strange Richard Miles novel (swopping London’s Hyde Park for Vancouver’s Tatlow). He wrote to Ingrid about playing the repressed, and sex-obsessed spinster. She wrotte back. “Rather insulted by the part.”
  40. Melina Mercouri, Promise at Dawn (aka La promesse de l’aube), France-USA, 1970.   Vittorio De Sica was first signed to direct Romain Gary’s autobiopgraphical novel with either Bergman or Ava Gardner. Finally, Jules Dassin made it with his wife as Gary’s Russian, ex-silent film actress mother, who said Time critic Stefan Kanfer, “could give Sophie Portnoy lessons in classic and popular Momism.” Ex-child sar Chartlotte Gainsbourg played her in a 2017 French re-make.

  41. Uta Hagen, The Other, 1971.      Writer-producing the adaptation of his own novel, ex-actor Thomas (ex-Tom) Tyron wanted Bergman. However, she was booked on stage. Enter Hagen as the grandmother of the  ex-Oliver Mark Lester as the nine-year-old twins involved in  a  macabre murder game.
  42. Wendy Hiller, Murder on the Orient Express, 1973.    Agatha Christie’s favourite adaptation… Director Sidney Lumet – with final cut for the first time, following his Serpico triumph – said that like Dame Agatha, it was about nostalgia. He wanted Hollywood 30s’ glamour and once his mate, Sean Connery, agreed to be Colonel Arbuthnot, the rest rushed in. Lauren Bacall. Ingrid Bergman, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave (who would play Agatha in 1977), Richard Widmark and Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot, himself.  But no Dietrich… Lumet’s suggestion for Princess Dragomiroff was shot down as “too campy” by his producers. Bergman refused royalty for the Swedish nurseGreta Ohlsson. But that’s fewer scenes, said Lumet. Yes but one, her fjve minute  interrogation by (an off-screen)  Finney,  was special.  And won her support Oscar!  Despite Gielgud snarling:  “Ingrid speaks five languages and can’t act in any of them.”
  43. Katharine Hepburn, Rooster Cogburn, 1974.    If well enough to reprise his Oscar-winning True Grit marshal, John Wayne wanted Bergman as Eula Goodnight, no less. Producer Hal Wallis shortlisted Bette Davis, Maureen O’Hara, (of course!). Plus true Brits Glenda Jackson, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith.   But he rejected any comeback for Loretta Young (Mike Wayne’s godmother) which is when Duke, trying to avoid two wrinklies, suggested the less elderly Mary Tyler Moore. Hepburn won because the script by ex-Duke co-star Martha Hyer (Mrs Wallis, credited as Martin Julien) was a flagrant rehash of Hepburn’s African Queen – and as pathetic as director Stuart Miller. It was his second feature. The “6ft 6ins somafabitch no-talent,” as Duke termed him, never made a third.
  44. Gunn Wållgren, Fanny och Alexander/Fanny and Alexander, Sweden, 1981.       Swedish genius Ingmar Berman created Helena Ekdahl –  grandmother of the titular siblings – for Ingrid (no kin).  But she had  cancer. The film (24 hours were shot in chronological order) opened in Stockholm four months after her death in London.











 Birth year: 1915Death year: 1982Other name: Casting Calls:  44