Theatre, 1985

Miss Julie

Bergman's production closely follows Strindberg's original directions.

'Ingmar Bergman crashes onto the Small Stage of the Royal Dramatic Theatre, making the kitchen walls of the manor house rumble and the copper saucepans rattle on the chimney-piece [...] There is kissing and fighting, intensifying by degree, in violently physical acting. The spectator is witness to drunkenness, fondling and fornication.'
Hans-Christer Sjöberg

Reviews and comments

Writing in Expressen, Lisbet Larsson saw the production as an intensive portrayal of Julie's increasingly angst-ridden decline towards 'total powerlessness, voluntary surrender'. Unequivocally, she also saw Julie's fate as the focal point of the production. 'This is truly Miss Julie's performance in all respects, formed like a Greek tragedy rather than a naturalistic tale of anguish.' And she proclaims that 'Marie Göranzon is splendid'. The disadvantage of this strong focus on the fate of Julie, according to Larsson, is that there is never any really dynamic interplay between Jean and Julie. As such, Jean can never be anything more than a bit player in the inner workings of Julie's mind. The two of them are, in effect, incapable of touching each other.

Not all critics, however, were convinced of the success of this intensive element in the play. Some were of the opinion that it was unsuitable for the Small Stage of the Royal Dramatic Theatre, accusing Marie Göranzon of a mannered, over-acted performance.

Ingmar Björkstén, writing in Svenska Dagbladet, summed up Bergman's production as follows.

There are times when his Miss Julie and Jean shriek at such a high volume that they are bound to wake not only Kristin [...] but the whole household. On the Small Stage, this is too heavy handed. Overblown expressions of emotion disturb. Nuances are drowned in noise, alienating the audience from involvement.

Dagens Nyheter's Lars Linder was of the opinion that Bergman's interpretation of such a highly-strung Julie does no favours to the character herself.

With her epilepsy and the like, she seems to be a study in theatrical psychology; tossed between frigidity, breakdown and struggle,– a study in extremes. Marie Göranzon does make her convincing, occasionally on the edge of overacting. – …She is certainly not a Julie who wins the understanding and sympathy of the audience.

Some critics saw Jean as the central figure of the production, the character from whom the real dynamism stems. Many were impressed by the virility and power of Stormare's performance; this is no cheap ladies' man, but a man with an accustomed elegance in his manner, a man who also displays calculating and cold indifference to a Julie who allows herself to be humiliated.

On the other hand, 'Jean behaves like an amazingly considerate person', wrote Lars Linder in Dagens Nyheter, who regarded Stormare's performance as one of the unexpected high spots in the production. Linder also saw a logic in the way that Julie is presented in relation to Jean. 'In order for the action, despite this compassionate Jean, to be driven to its dreadful conclusion, Julie needs to be just as highly-strung and terrified as Marie Göranzon is required to make her.'

But not all critics appreciated Stormare's performance. Arbetet's Bertil Palmqvist thought him odd. 'He is a rather affected actor with a tendency to overact, sometimes almost appearing amateurish.'

Many critics noted that in Bergman's production, Kristin, played by Gerthi Kulle, has a more commanding role than usual. As such, the production can be seen as a triangle drama. Kristin, a worthy rival to Julie, is presented as a woman of warmth and vitality, smitten with her Jean and looking forward to their night of passion ahead. At the end of the play she is more like 'a revenging angel than the mild person her name would imply' (Lisbet Larson).

Tomas Bredsorff, writing in the Danish Politiken, thought that Kristin, in this production, held the real power -– she knows that she has the upper hand with Jean where Julie is concerned.


  • The Ingmar Bergman Archives.
  • Henrik Sjögren, Lek och raseri, Ingmar Bergmans teater 1938-2002, ( Stockholm: Carlsson Bokfölag, 2002).
  • Birgitta Steene, Ingmar Bergman: A Reference Guide, (Amsterdam University Press, 2005).


  • Marie Göranzon, Julie
  • Peter Stormare, Jean
  • Gerthi Kulle, Kristin
  • Lena Olin, Julie (1991 revival)
  • Eva Callenbo, (unkown part)
  • Paula Ternström-Almquist, (unkown part)
  • Peter C Blomberg, (unkown part)
  • Måns Edwall, (unkown part)
  • Lars-Erik Johansson, (unkown part)
  • Karl Evert Kevestad, Works manager
  • Jan Lundberg, Works manager
  • Ulla Åberg, Dramaturgy
  • Bengt Wanselius, Stills photographer
  • August Strindberg, Author
  • Hans-Åke Bergström, Stage manager
  • Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss, Costume design
  • Birgit Bohm, Costume manager
  • Hans Åkesson, Lightning
  • Niklas Engström, Lightning technician
  • Anna-Lena Melin, Make-up and wigs
  • Katarina Sjöberg, Producer
  • Ingmar Bergman, Director
  • Anna von Rosen, Assistant director
  • Stefan Lundgren, Props
  • Bengt Larsson, Master carpenter
  • Britta Olin, Prompter
  • Bernt Thorell, Technical manager