Ingmar Bergman staged Hjalmar Bergman's The Legend three times: Helsingborg in 1945, Malmö in 1958 and at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm in 1963.
'Ingmar Bergman created an inspired scene. He unequivocally respected the author's intentions, not just as a matter of reverence, but he followed Hjalmar Bergman's directions, theatrically speaking.'Tom, Skånska Social-Demokraten
About the production
The opening night did not begin well. Thanks to competition from a Karl Gerhard cabaret and a concert with Rosita Serrano, the theatre was far from full. Writing in Skånska Social-Demokraten, Tom (Åke Thomson) described how the audience in the first act, 'turned in their seats, coughed and cleared their throats. The doors creaked as people arrived late due to the rain'.
Other critics found the performance both brilliant and exciting, and were especially impressed by the work of the scenographer, Gunnar Lindblad.
- The Ingmar Bergman Archives.
- Birgitta Steene, Ingmar Bergman: A Reference Guide, (Amsterdam University Press, 2005).
In Skånska Social-Demoktraten, Tom wrote that the production had both '(d)ramatic nerve and intensity'. And even though opening night was not full, the performance was appreciated. The stage designer Gunnar Lindblad was also given attention in the reviews. One wrote, 'Nothing seems impossible for that man'.
Hjalmar Bergman wrote The Legend in 1919. According to his wife, Stina, it was decided that the play should not be performed until after the death of the pair of them, but Per Lindberg (Hjalmar Bergman's brother-in-law), who knew of the piece, was given permission to stage the play at the Dramatist Studio in Stockholm in 1942.
Many critics have found the piece hard to characterise. Consequently, it is also hard to stage a production that does justice to all its nuances and levels. In certain parts the play has a decidedly lyrical character which, in others, is in stark contrast to a considerably more robust realism that bears witness to the author's insights into the brutality of life. The plot has the quality of a dream, a fantasy: it is a fairy tale about the light of love in contrast to the darkness of deceit.
The main character is the young girl, Gudrun, who long ago was drowned by her sweetheart, a knight called Sune. A hundred years later she rises up from the water and tries to intervene in people's lives by promoting love. This time round it is the poor girl Astrid who loves Sune the knight. He in turn intends to marry Rose, a daughter of the grandee family Ehrenståhl. Rose, however, loves her cousin Gerard, a spoilt and selfish cynic. Romance blends with a more calculating crassness which results in haggling over feelings. In other words, things do not turn out as Gudrun had planned. But despite the need for a sacrifice on the altar of love, things nonetheless turn out happily in the end.
Many commentators, Ingmar Bergman included, have pointed out the plays striking similarities with Alfred de Musset's play One Doesn't Trifle with Love.
- Carin Cederström, (Unknown part)
- Sture Ericson, (Unknown part)
- Ulf Johanson, (Unknown part)
- Ruth Kasdan, (Unknown part)
- Otto Landahl, (Unknown part)
- Dagny Lind, (Unknown part)
- Ingrid Luterkort, (Unknown part)
- Gunnar Nielsen, (Unknown part)
- Bertil Sjödin, (Unknown part)
- Siv Thulin , (Unknown part)
- Hjalmar Bergman, Author
- Ellen Bergman, Choreography
- Karl-Henrik Edström, Music
- Ingmar Bergman, Director
- Gunnar Lindblad, Designer