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Straight From Europe: The Next Great Hollywood Beauty

Posted August 11, 2010 to photo album "Straight From Europe: The Next Great Hollywood Beauty"

Anton Corbijn’s The American will give Americans the chance to discover two European actress: Italy’s Violante Placido and Dutch actress Thekla Reuten. They are only the latest in string of European discoveries.

Slide 1: Introduction
Slide 2: Greta Garbo - The Swedish Goddess
Slide 3: Alla Nazimova - The Passionate Russian
Slide 4: Marlene Dietrich - The Tough German
Slide 5: Ingrid Bergman - The Natural Swede
Slide 6: Alida Valli - The Italian
Slide 7: Sophia Loren - The Italian Scandal
Slide 8: Catherine Deneuve - The Cool French Beauty
Slide 9: Penelope Cruz - The Dark Iberian Vision
Slide 10: Audrey Tatou - The Fresh French Face
Slide 11: Monica Bellucci - The Exotic Italian
Slide 12: Thekla Reuten & Violante Placido - The New Wave
Slide 5: Ingrid Bergman - The Natural Swede

Slide 5: Ingrid Bergman - The Natural Swede

One of Hollywood’s greatest stars, Ingrid Bergman was born in Sweden in 1915 and appeared in local productions before one, Intermezzo, caught the attention of producer David O. Selznick, who brought Bergman to the States for a remake. His strategy was to launch her in America as a “natural” actress. In her autobiography, Ingrid Bergman: My Story, she recalled how Selznick insisted her name not be Americanized and that she not pluck her eyebrows. Said Bergman in an interview, “I arrived in Hollywood exactly at the right time, because they had all these actresses that were so made up and everything was so phony in a way.” Of her early work in Hollywood, her daughter, Pia Lindstrom, recalled, “The way she was presented to the public was something like a Swedish milkmaid — a good-hearted, sweet family girl [who was] just home, you know, all the time. They didn’t know what to do with her… When they couldn’t turn her into a glamour puss, they finally decided, okay, let’s go with the country girl.”

Following the film, Bergman returned to Sweden where she appeared in more pictures before another American film beckoned: the World War 2-set Casablanca. Playing a Norwegian woman who, thinking her husband has died in a concentration camp, falls in love with an American bar owner in Paris, Bergman catapulted to fame in a film precisely about the complexities of national identity. In his New York Times review, Bosley Crowther wrote, “Miss Bergman is surpassingly lovely, crisp and natural as the girl and lights the romantic passages with a warm and genuine glow.”

Bergman would go on to star in such classics as Notorious, Gaslight, and Spellbound. She returned to Italy in 1949 to make Stromboli for director Roberto Rossellini, whom she, scandalously in U.S., left her husband for and married. In the years that followed, Bergman alternated between Hollywood and Europe. For one of her final performances, in Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata, she won a Best Actress Academy Award.