One More Bergman Thing: Rabies

A few years back, I watched 87 Bergman things, but I was unable to find this TV movie from 1958. A comment on Youtube alerted me to somebody uploading it, and after spending two days downloading it, I’ve now put the movie on Youtube:

Enjoy it before the copyright strike, I guess?

Gotta hand it to the pirate community: After it had been made available, somebody quickly created subtitles, so I’ve added the subtitles (found on Open Subtitles) to the Youtube version.

I haven’t seen the movie yet… so… let’s roll.

Rabies. Ingmar Bergman. 1958.

[twenty minutes pass]

OK, this is a collection of ten minute (?) scenes? And one person from the preceding scene appears in the next scene? So it’s like a chained series of little tableaux?

That’s cool, but the first scene was … not very interesting, and the second scene, which had some nerve (I mean, it had Bibi Andersson and Gunnel Lindblom; it can’t be totally uninteresting), seemed oddly unresolved.

[fifteen minutes pass]

Well, this hasn’t been er exactly expertly restored or anything:

But it’s really weird: While the scenes themselves are kinda washed-out and stuff, the dust and scratches are super sharp. So I wonder where this leaked copy originated from. My totally uninformed guess would be that somebody transferred this from magnetic video tape (that existed in the 50s, right?) to film sometime later. So the scratches are on the film copy of this, and the bleached-out look is from the magnetic tape?

I’m just guessing! I’m not an expert.

And then somebody’s digitised the film, and then it somehow ended up on a pirate site last year.

In any case… I can see why nobody has … made an effort to make this commercially available: Restoring this into something…. acceptable… for a wider, non-Bergman nerd audience looks like a daunting task.

[ten minutes pass]

If I didn’t know that this was a Bergman movie, I wouldn’t have guessed. Sure, it’s not unusual for Bergman to feature a bunch of long philosophical debates and stuff, but it’s unusual for him to play it this straight when what they’re saying is so … moronic. I mean, it’s on purpose: We’re following (in a string) of people who are either nasty, insane or menial, but what they have in common is that they’re all dumb and they’re all unaware of this and spout their philosophies.

When the sadistic, fascist military guy in the… fourth? segment starts echoing the literally insane guy from the previous segment, it was pretty chilling (I mean, the movie is called Rabies; the nastiness is contagious), but it’s still a lot, sitting here listening to all this… idiocy.

Even the guy that didn’t seem like a sadist turned out to be a… eugenicist or something.

[the end]


The last 20 minutes makes this all worth it: The author (well, as played by Max von Sydow) meets all the characters, and they tell him off for portraying them this way, and then it all ends with a speech from him. And this all really works. It’s funny and it’s riveting.

This still isn’t a “good movie”, but the final scene makes watching it definitely worthwhile.

4 thoughts on “One More Bergman Thing: Rabies”

      1. Thanks, didn’t realise it was a live link. However, I am puzzked as to why I cannot find this if I search Youtube. And next adventure will be to learn how to download from Youtube WITH SUBTITLES. Apparently this can be done using VEED. My first naive attempt was via playing the video on Youtube with subtitles and then simply hitting Record — Which does not work! Those subtitles are lost in transfer…

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