The Magic Flute

Movie Information

In Brief: Ingmar Bergman's 1975 film of Mozart's The Magic Flute is a marvelously theatrical — but not stagey — incarnation of the opera. Your fondness for it will depend in large part on how well you like Mozart and this opera in particular.
Genre: Comic/Fantasy Opera
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Starring: Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Håkan Hagegård, Elisabeth Erikson
Rated: G

This is the third time Ingmar Bergman’s film of The Magic Flute has crossed my path for purposes of review—and let’s have no more of it. I really wish I could find something new to say about the film, but, no, that’s not in the cards. It is still a brilliantly made film of an opera I don’t like by one of my least favorite composers in the world. I’ve watched it twice. I can appreciate what Bergman does with Mr. Mozart’s opera. It ends there.

From the original review: You can probably bump Ingmar Bergman’s 1975 film up a half star if you happen to like the opera by Mozart. I have to admit that I’m not fond of it, and that prevents me from fully enjoying this unquestionably brilliant version of the work. It does not prevent me from admiring Bergman’s handling of the material, or marveling at the cinematic playfulness on display. Bergman’s decision to present the opera as if it were indeed taking place onstage — and a period stage at that — is fascinating, especially because he only adheres to the concept as long as it suits his purpose. The opera never opens up in the sense that it leaves the confines of its theater, but the size and shape of the theater itself is hardly constrained to the cramped stage on which it’s supposedly being performed. (It would have to be a remarkably labyrinthian stage to look anything like the production Bergman gives us.)

Full review is here

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present The Magic Flute Friday, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332,

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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