After three successive flops, Bergman needed a hit, so he knuckled down to Edqvist's adaptation of her tearjerking novel about a blind piano teacher finding love with a female student. An early sequence, where protagonist Malmsten is disfigured on a military rifle range while trying to save a puppy, gives some indication that this is one film Bergman didn't wrench from the depths of his soul. It plays like a commercial chore, but may have saved his movie career by doing well at the Swedish box office. And now and again, sequences flare into life, among them the surreal dream where the hero sees himself dragged into a swamp by disembodied hands, the touchingly understated material shot at the blind school, and Malmsten's proud moment when he's slapped by a romantic rival - at last treated as an equal, not an invalid.
Cast and crew