As time goes by, Ingrid Bergman's stature as a screen icon lives on. During her five-decade career, the actress, best known for "Casablanca," made roughly 50 films, not only in Hollywood but in her native Sweden and in Italy with her then-husband, director Roberto Rossellini.
So how do you choose from among that rich, cinematic catalog to celebrate the centennial of one of Hollywood's iconic leading ladies, who died in 1982 at age 67?
"We picked four of the best-known ones," says Catherine Oberg, executive director of The Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center in Patchogue, where the retrospective begins Saturday. They also mark high points in Bergman's career, including her Oscar-winning performances in "Gaslight" (1944), "Anastasia" (1956) and "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974), and Alfred Hitchcock's spy thriller "Notorious" (1946).
The quartet has something else in common. "These films' plots have famously strong elements of classic mystery and suspense," says Peter Mascuch, coordinator of the Cinema Studies Program at St. Joseph's College in Patchogue. "Bergman's four performances in these movies, with their extraordinarily authentic emotional intensity, grippingly convey the mysteries of the human heart." Mascuch will also conduct most of the post-screening Q&As.
The celebration will also have some local family ties: Bergman's daughter, actress Isabella Rossellini, who lives in Bellport, will host the series as well as the Plaza's Oct. 22 gala at Mediterranean Manor in Patchogue. "Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words," a new documentary scheduled to be released in theaters later this year, will be screened at the gala.
"The documentary is an intimate portrait of Ingrid Bergman, not the star, but the wife and the mother," Oberg says. It includes excerpts from Bergman's diaries, home movies and interviews with her four children.
If you want to see Bergman at her best, here are the movies and showtimes for Plaza's schedule.
Gaslight (1944), Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Bergman won her first Oscar playing a newlywed who is slowly being driven insane by her husband (Charles Boyer). The film, directed by George Cukor, also ranks among the AFI's list of top thrillers and marked the screen debut of Angela Lansbury.
Notorious (1946), Oct. 24 at 10:30 a.m. and Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m.
In one of three films Bergman made with "Master of Suspense" Hitchcock, she is cast as a "notorious" woman recruited by U.S. government agent Cary Grant to spy on Nazis in Rio de Janeiro. Romance, of course, ensues.
Anastasia (1956), Nov. 7 at 10:30 a.m. and Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m.
In her U.S. comeback film after her at-that-time scandalous second marriage and artistic relationship with Rossellini ended, Bergman won her second Oscar portraying an amnesiac postwar refugee who impersonates a surviving daughter of Russia's last czar. The "recognition" scene with the Dowager Empress (Helen Hayes) is justifiably famous.
Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Dec. 5 at 10:30 a.m. and Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Among an all-star cast that includes Lauren Bacall, John Gielgud and Sean Connery, Bergman steals the show as a Swedish missionary who helps lead Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot on a wild goose chase aboard the luxurious title train. It's among the shortest performances ever honored with a best supporting actress Oscar.
Ingrid Bergman Centennial film series
WHEN | WHERE Saturday-Dec. 19, Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center, 20 Terry St., Patchogue
INFO $15 adults, $13 students; 631-438-0083, plazamac.org
The Plaza Gala hosted by Isabella Rossellini
WHEN | WHERE Oct. 22 at 6 p.m., Mediterranean Manor, 303 E. Main St., Patchogue
INFO $125 (reservations required); 631-438-0083, plazamac.org