The one colour production by the director of 'Fährmann Maria' is a handsome but conventional heimatfilm that makes good use of the remote and austere North Atlantic archipelago of the Faroe Islands but displays its sensual Scandinavian leading actress far less advantageously. Loosely adapted from the bestselling historical novel by Jørgen-Frantz Jacobsen, Barbara has become the wife of a doctor rather than a pastor; a glamorous widow who dreams of life in the big city and according to gossip was not the most faithful of doctor's wives. The late doctor's successor (a youthful Helmut Griem) nevertheless finds himself drawn to the love of a bad woman, and Barbara doesn't remain a widow long. Old habits die hard, however, and the winter nights are long with little to do...
The film is more open about sex than an English-language production would at the time have been; and the toll their spartan existence takes even on women less high-maintenance than Barbara is amusingly revealed when the pastor's wife (played by Erika Dannhoff) gets roaring drunk at a dance. Harriet Andersson as Barbara is dubbed, wears pallid makeup, a boring hairstyle and a constantly changing but unexciting wardrobe, and doesn't get as much screen time as one would have hoped. Although we're frequently told what a scarlet woman she is (the film's subtitle in English describes her as 'Wild as the Sea') - and there are the usual shots of waves crashing on to rocks to denote passion - Barbara comes across as a tease rather than "die größte Hure auf la Insel", as a thwarted suitor describes her, and Ms Andersson is sadly almost unrecognisable as the earthy, dangerous woman she had just played for Bergman in 'In a Glass Darkly' and in her earlier films for the maestro.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this