Sawdust and Tinsel 1953

Sawdust and Tinsel

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 9

84%

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User Ratings: 1,594

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Movie Info

In this early Ingmar Bergman film, the Swedish director details the downward-spiraling lives of the members of a failing circus and their daily humiliations and degradations. The hapless clown Frost (Anders Ek) discovers his wife, Alma (Gudrun Brost), proudly skinny-dipping in front of a group of leering soldiers, while put-upon circus owner and ringmaster Albert (Åke Grönberg) undergoes torments from both his wife, Agda (Annika Tretow), and his mistress, Anne (Harriet Andersson).

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Critic Reviews for Sawdust and Tinsel

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (9)

Audience Reviews for Sawdust and Tinsel

  • Apr 15, 2016
    My goodness, wasn't Ingmar Bergman on fire during the 50's? While the story in Tinsel and Sawdust is less pleasant than some of his other films, focusing on the cruel side of love and the fates people are sometime locked into, he tells it beautifully, and again has a wonderful cast. A man (Åke Grönberg) has left his wife and sons for three years to lead a traveling circus from town to town. He's having an affair with the trick horseback rider (Harriet Andersson), but tensions arise when he plans to visit his wife and family. It's not a happy troupe in general - they're short of funds and costumes, and in a very artistic flashback, we see the clown (Anders Ek) humiliated by his wife, the bear-trainer, as she frolics in the nude with a bunch of soldiers, to a large regiment's delight. Anyway, as they look to borrow costumes, Andersson is hit on by an actor from a local theater (Hasse Ekman), and at first she has the upper hand and is cruel to him, but later, with the rift with Grönberg increasing, she's duped into having sex with him. Meanwhile Grönberg's wife firmly declines his offer to come back, saying she's not willing to sacrifice her peace of mind for anyone. Harriet Andersson is stunning in this film and turns in an excellent performance, and Grönberg, Ek, and Ekman are all great as well. It doesn't feel like an overly heavy film, but everyone does seem trapped, in cages I suppose like the circus bear, leading diminished, sometimes violent lives, and that seems to be one of the movie's messages. The circus ultimately keeps moving along despite all the mistakes they've made, and Bergman seems to be relating it to the human condition, one that's invariably tinged with cruelty, and sadness.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 27, 2013
    a stunning film, simple yet full of profound trails of thought and character development. by the end it's hard not to think deeply about the course of one's life, the paths we walk whether chosen or not, and the lengths we'll go to set a new course if we find ourselves drifting in the wrong direction. this film has convinced me once and for all that harriet andersson is one of the most beautiful women to ever appear in film. one of bergman's best.
    danny d Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2013
    A Bergman film that I had not seen but which grew on me to a large degree. It is very powerful with very griping performances. Stays with you.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 13, 2009
    I first, and probably, last saw this wonderful film over 7 years ago. It has not been easy to catch again and then I think that when the time since you have last seen a favourite gets too long you begin to have concerns as to whether it will live up to your memory of it. Having just watched it again I am blown away all over again. I cannot believe how much of the fantastic visuals I remembered and the extent to which the power of the film is still so affecting. There is not a wasted frame, this is pure cinema throughout. The acting is stupendous, the cinematography outstanding and the bitter sweet tale so seemingly simple, yet so devastatingly all consuming. I know Bergman has made more poetic films and more profound ones but I still think this one is hard to beat for so eloquently presenting those basic issues that matter to everyone.
    Cassandra M Super Reviewer

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