(out of 5)
Ingmar Bergman made his directorial debut with this enjoyable melodrama. A young woman has been raised in the provinces by a loving spinster while her big-city mama has worked her way to the head of a beauty parlour. The girl is now sixteen and forced to choose between lives when her birth mother arrives and wants to take her back to the city with her, offering her the opportunity of a lifetime. Her adoptive mother resists vehemently, afraid that the other woman is only after a temporary lift and won’t provide the girl the love and care she really deserves. Bergman could easily have turned into the Ross Hunter of Sweden with such material, light years behind the investigative behavioural dramas he would make a name for himself with in the years to come. The film isn’t creaky, however, and his debut is quite strong: the performances show the strength of his theatrical background and his gifts as a writer serve him extremely well (he adapted the script from a play by Leck Fischer). Rather than weigh between corrupt urban values and pure rural ones, as these stories tend to do when made by simpler artists, Bergman places the focus on characters in search of home and love.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Screenplay by Ingmar Bergman, based on the play Moderhjertet by Leck Fischer
Cinematography by Gosta Roosling
Music by Erland von Koch
Production Design by Arne Akermark
Film Editing by Oscar Rosander