Waiting Women

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Year Released: 1952
Rating: 2.0

While waiting for their husbands to show up, three bored married women - to pass the time - share stories about them: in part one, Rakel (Anita Björk) talks about how she cheated on her husband with a childhood friend, in section two, Marta (Maj-Britt Nilsson) is pregnant and waiting to deliver the child of painter Martin (Birger Malmsten) and for the last story, Karin (Eva Dahlbeck) lightens the mood by relaying a time she was trapped in the elevator with her husband Fredrik (Gunnar Björnstrand).  Tales one and two are relatively weak - the Rakel section is like a bad soap opera and more than a little unhealthy (the incident made her realize her husband is actually her "child") and the Marta narrative has a flashback-in-a-flashback that makes it play out clumsily - but the Karin bit balances out the serious with the comedic, as she plays mind games with her spouse over accusations of infidelity (this is where Bergman's background in the theatre really came in handy).  It's all a little affected, but one can see - with the significantly better Sawdust and Tinsel and the masterpiece Smiles of a Summer Night coming out a few years later - how he's refining and tweaking his own style (he was a relatively fast learner).