Bergman’s Magic Flute (Trollflöjten)

Despite having seen many Magic Flutes and pretty much every Bergman movie it’s only now that I’ve got around to watching his famous film of the Mozart opera, or rather Bergman’s version of the opera, because it differs in important ways from Shikaneder’s libretto.  The basic concept is that Pamina is Sarastro’s daughter, who he has removed from the evil influence of her mother.  He intends Pamina to inherit his kingdom and leadership of the Brotherhood but only after he’s found a suitable chap to keep her out of trouble which is, of course, where Tamino comes in.  So whatever else has changed, the misogyny is intact.  There are other changes too.  Monostatos is almost written out of the script and a good deal of dialogue is changed or omitted, as are some musical numbers.  The whole thing comes in at 135 minutes so maybe 30 minutes of material have been cut.  None of this seems very radical today but must have raised a few eyebrows in 1975.

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