Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939)

In Gregory Ratoff's romantic melodrama, an English-language remake of the 1936 Swedish film of the same name (also starring Ingrid Bergman), with the use of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring as a metaphorical idea and musical theme:

  • the early scene of married, world-famous virtuoso concert violinist Holger Brandt (Leslie Howard) playing a passionate (violin-piano) duet with Miss Anita Hoffman (Ingrid Bergman in her first American-Hollywood film), his 6 year-old daughter Ann Marie's (Ann E. Todd) comely piano teacher - it was the start of their entire doomed and forbidden love affair - he requested that she join him as a replacement accompanist on tour, and she was immediately enamoured of him
  • their acquaintance deepened in a restaurant, and then as they strolled through a park together, he expressed his happiness about her - Holger: "You know, there comes a night each year when one senses that winter is suddenly over." Anita: "Yes, that spring has come. How I look forward to it through the dreary months." Holger: "Look, there goes the winter now broken, rushing to the sea. Don't you feel when spring comes that the world is yours just for the asking? That there's nothing that you couldn't be?" Anita: "Tonight, I would dare anything!" - and they began to fall in love
  • the sequence when Anita confessed to Holger her shame about their secret affair - and that they must end it: "All along I've been hating this kind of thing. Always meeting you like this, in out-of-the-way places. Little dark corners. Sneaking about in fear of being seen...I'm ashamed. And I hate being ashamed...You don't like it any more than I do. We look what we feel: Two guilty people...I haven't any right to be happy the way I am happy with you...We must end it. We've got to stop seeing each other...We must. We can't go on lying to ourselves, and to people who trust us. It's impossible, unbearable"
  • the next scene in which Holger begged Anita to not get on a train (she was going away to Denmark to see relatives - AND - to escape their forbidden affair), but then after she did not depart, she asked anxiously: "What will happen now?"
  • the subsequent scenes of their continuing adulterous love affair as they completed their musical tour of Europe together (with Anita serving as his replacement accompanist), and she told him: "I hope it's true that I've helped you a little. I hope it's not only that....What am I? Your shadow. I don't exist without you....But it's enough. Let me be with you like this always"; he responded: "The tour is over. Now we can rest awhile"; she continued: "It has been the greatest happiness I've ever known and the greatest I'll ever know. Such happiness couldn't come more than once in one's life. I know it couldn't. Could it?"; with a worried look, he spoke: "Let's not speculate about happiness. We're here, and work's over for awhile"
  • the sequence during their holiday in the French Riviera, when they came upon a graveyard next to the coastline, where Anita expressed her happiness: "How lovely it is. So peaceful and unreal. Like a place in a dream"; Anita read the words from a tombstone: "Mon amour dure apres la mort (My love endures after death)"; Holger remarked: "That was written for us. And for everyone on earth who will ever feel as we do now"
  • the scene of Anita's receipt of a letter, offering her a coveted, career-advancing Jenny Lind musical scholarship; Holger insisted: "If it's an invitation, you can just turn it down. I'm not going to let you out of my sight for one moment, young lady"; later at dinner time, she fatefully decided to burn it in his presence, so that they would not become separated: ("But I don't want it now, Holger. No, I'm-I'm not taking it...This is how I feel about the letter, about anything that could come between us")
  • the scene of the loving couple on a yacht, when Anita wished to escape from reality with Holger forever: ("Oh, no, I don't want to go home. Not yet, please... I am afraid. I don't know why but I am afraid. I wish we could stay out here forever...What a wonderful day this has been!...I can't bear to see it end...Hold me close, Holg, hold me close")
  • the sequence of Anita realizing their love affair would not last, especially after Holger's wife Margit (Edna Best) asked him for a divorce; she realized: "I have been an intermezzo in his life"
  • the bittersweet, difficult scene of Anita bidding Holger goodbye (without telling him that she was leaving him forever) - culminating in a series of desperate hugs and kisses, and a final wave goodbye
Last Goodbye Scene
  • Anita's 'Dear John' letter: ("We have been pretending and hoping too long, Holger, pretending that what we had was splendid and good, hoping that we could make it so. But we know in our hearts that love like ours is wrong -- that it drags itself down with remorse and fears, and the unhappiness of others. And so I am going away. God bless you, Holger, and take you, some day, safely home. Anita")
  • the startling, heart-breaking scene in which Holger's daughter Ann Marie was struck by a car and seriously-injured when rushing to greet her father who had finally returned home
Car Accident - Holger's Daughter
Reconciliation Between Holger
and His Wife Margit in the Ending
  • the line of dialogue - Holger speaking to his bitter son Eric (Douglas Scott): "You see, Eric, even if you don't need me anymore, now it's I who need you"
  • the last shot in which Holger's wife Margit descended stairs and sought reconciliation - she forgave Holger for his mid-life crisis/affair as he returned home: ("Holger ...welcome home ...Holger, welcome home!")

Duet: Holger Brandt and Miss Anita Hoffman

The Start of Their Affair

Train Station Departure Scene - Anita: "What will happen now?"

Anita: "Such happiness couldn't come more than once in one's life. Could it?"

Tombstone: "My love endures after death"

Anita Burning Scholarship Letter

Yacht Scene

Anita's Realization: "I have been an intermezzo in his life"

Anita's Dear John Letter


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