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Ingrid Bergman as Supporting Roles: 4 Times Star Shined Without Being Lead Actress

Image: Ingrid Bergman as Supporting Roles: 4 Times Star Shined Without Being Lead Actress
Ingrid Bergman in The Yellow Rolls-Royce, 1964. (imdb.com)

By    |   Friday, 08 May 2015 10:34 AM

Ingrid Bergman came to America to be a movie star and defied all odds to become one of the biggest of her time. She spent almost her entire career as a lead actress, remaining front and center in her movies, from almost the time that she broke out as a star.

There were very few minor roles in her career, but she did accept some supporting roles later in her life, and remained just as successful with those as she did when she was the lead of the picture.

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Here are four Ingrid Bergman roles as a supporting player that completely defined her career.

1. Greta, "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974)

Released in 1974, "Murder on the Orient Express" is an adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery, as Hercule Poirot has to figure out who the killer is while a train is stuck in the snow during a trip from Istanbul to Calais. Sidney Lumet wanted Bergman to play a major role, but she demanded the small, yet important, role of Greta, while Lauren Bacall got the role as Mrs. Hubbard. Roger Ebert wrote that "the movie provides a good time, high style, a loving salute to an earlier period of filmmaking."

2. Lady Henrietta Flusky, "Under Capricorn" (1949)

"Under Capricorn" stars Joseph Cotten as Sam, a convict who served his time and wants to move on with is life, along with his wife played by Bergman. This was the third collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock, and in this movie, Bergman plays the alcoholic wife of Sam and is also socially shunned. While her performance is great, Variety wrote in its review at the time that the movie itself is "overlong and talky" but has the "scant measure of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller tricks."

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3. Stephanie Dickinson, "Cactus Flower" (1969)

"Cactus Flower" came out in 1969 and is based on the former stage play that used to run in Blackstone. Goldie Hawn stars as a girl named Toni who attempts suicide when she learns that her lover is married. When she survives, her lover, who wasn't married, feels horrible and tries to enlist his assistant, portrayed by Bergman, to pose as his wife so he can "divorce" her and marry the younger woman. In his review, Ebert wrote that the film was one that "The audience didn't merely like it; it reveled in it."

4. Gerda Millett, "The Yellow Rolls-Royce" (1964)

In 1964, the movie "The Yellow Rolls-Royce" was released as an anthology movie of sorts, as it told the story of three different anecdotes linked by the Rolls-Royce of the title. In her story, Bergman plays Gerda, a woman who becomes involved in a scheme to smuggle an arch patriot out of the country. The Variety review praised the film's "sizzling international cast" and called it a "sleek piece of entertainment."

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Ingrid Bergman came to America to be a movie star and defied all odds to become one of the biggest of her time. She spent almost her entire career as a lead actress, remaining front and center in her movies, from almost the time that she broke out as a star.
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