Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Summer with Monika (1953, Swe.)
(aka Sommaren Med Monika)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Summer with Monika (1953, Swe.) (aka Sommaren Med Monika)

In writer/director Ingrid Bergman's controversial romance film about lovers on the run (similar to Lewis Gilbert's Friends (1971) and Terence Malick's Badlands (1973)) - it was based on the novel by Per Anders Fogelström and the director's adaptation, and became one of Bergman's most influential early films - one that undoubtedly launched his career and had an impact on other filmmakers, including Woody Allen and Jean-Luc Godard; it was one of the first foreign-language films that made its brief nudity a major selling point for US audiences, and helped create the stereotype that Swedish women were sexually liberated and enjoyed swimming in the nude. [Note: An earlier Swedish film that created the same sensation due to its nude scenes was director Arne Mattsson's One Summer of Happiness (1951, Swe.) (aka Hon Dansade en Sommar).]:

  • [Note: Legendary exploitation distributor, producer and showman Kroger Babb, after purchasing the American rights to Ingmar Bergman's Summer With Monika (1953, Swe.) cut out approximately 33 minutes of the film, dubbed it into English, replaced the musical score with a jazzy one by Les Baxter, and renamed it to ready the film for the drive-in circuit - it was now known as Monika: The Story of a Bad Girl (1955). Everything was sensationalized about the main romantic relationship between the title character and her teenaged boyfriend, since they had only one controversial scene of nudity (skinny-dipping) and love-making in the beautiful, sunny outdoors. Babb advertised the repackaged film with racy taglines such as: "She's 19 - and Naughty but Nice!", "Everybody's Talking About Monika!", "The Devil Controls Her By Radar!", and "Men Wilt Under the Touch of Her Lips."]
  • in the story, a young couple (two disaffected rebel teens), both from working class families in the industrial port city of Stockholm, became romantically-attached to each other: boyish-looking 19 year-old Harry Lund (Lars Ekborg) and almost 18 year-old Monika Eriksson (Harriet Andersson), a grocery store worker who was viewed as very adventurous, flighty, aggressive and earthy
  • their first chance encounter in the springtime was during lunch in a local cafe; the defiant Monika's first words were to reject their work responsibilities; she encouraged Harry to join her to escape their dull, tawdry lives and horrible jobs and run away: "People shouldn't work on a day like this...Let's go away and never come back. We'll see the whole wide world. You game?"; he blithely agreed: "Sure, let's go"
  • stock room and delivery boy Harry returned to work at a glassworks and porcelain shop known as Forsberg's where he was experiencing problems in his dead-end job; he often argued with his boss for being late and for dawdling
  • the teens' first date consisted of watching a tearjerker movie (Song of Love) at the local movie-house at 7 pm; Monika was emotionally enraptured by 'Hollywood' and its fantasies of love and escape; afterwards, they spent the remainder of the evening together, when she asked for Harry to hold and kiss her ("You may kiss me now, Harry"), and told him: "I'm crazy about you"
  • during their next get-together - dinner at his place while his widowed, emotionally-distant father (Georg Skarstedt) was away, Monika told Harry she felt close to him: "Almost like we're married. You're so sweet, not like the others at all. Like right out of a movie"; later in the evening they necked and kissed until interrupted by the arrival of his sick father (who would soon be hospitalized)
  • Monika's home life was troubled - she lived in a cramped and claustrophobic tenement apartment with other family members (and slept in the kitchen with "never a moment's peace"); she was groped, pinched and ogled by chauvinistic co-workers at her grocery store job and quit; her violence-prone alcoholic father Ludvig "Ludde" Eriksson (Åke Fridell) was physically abusive and called her a "sassy little brat"; she sought refuge with Harry for the evening, and they slept together in a sleeping bag in his father's docked boat; the next day, Harry quit his job
  • Monika urged them to both pack up and run away: "Now we can go wherever we like!"; they took Harry's father's boat out of Stockholm - a languid sequence (filmed from the boat's point-of-view) as they floated along the waterways and under bridges to escape from the city
  • they were to experience a brief idyllic and euphoric romance at the beach on Orno Island in an archipelago throughout the coming summer; as they hugged, they congratulated themselves for rebelling: "We've rebelled, Monika, against all of them"; Monika 'played house' by heating up coffee for them on a portable camping stove as Harry slept
During a Light-Hearted and Idyllic Summer - Monika
  • in the film's only scene of very brief semi-nudity, she stripped off her clothes to sunbathe, then let Harry touch her breasts before she impulsively jumped up stark naked and ran to the water; their time of freedom was filled with sun-drenched cavorting and singing in the outdoors, love-making and romancing, until Monika noticed one day: "Oh dear, I've grown tubby" - a sign of her impending pregnancy
  • one night, they motored back to town and attended an outdoor dance on a pier, but when gum-chewing, pig-tailed Monika saw her previous ex-boyfriend Lelle (John Harryson) in the crowd, they fled back to the island
  • they talked about their difficult family situations; she complained: "There's so many of us. The brats fight and wreck everything. Dad's always drunk and kicking up a fuss. Sometimes he beats us"; Harry spoke of his hopes to attend night school to become an engineer
  • things turned less than idyllic when Monika announced that she was pregnant; Harry realistically insisted that they had to return home: "We have to go back so I can start working. You need proper food," but Monika disagreed: "No, I'm not going back. I want summer to go on just like this"; Harry argued: ("Monika, we have to make something real out of our lives. We'll care for each other. I'll study and get a decent job, so we can get married and have a nice house, you and me and the little one on its way")
  • Monika responded by still clinging to a dreamy fantasy of home life - without any intrusions: ("You'll come home from work and I'll have dinner ready. We'll take the children for Sunday walks. I won't work. I'll stay at home with the kids. We'll have nice clothes"); Harry was jubilant: "We'll have a good life. We'll always stay together" and she answered: "Just you and me"

Lelle - Monika's Menacing Ex-Boyfriend

Lelle's Sabotage of the Boat

Kissing After Fighting Off Lelle Together
  • while coincidentally camping on the same island within sight of the couple, Lelle jealously sabotaged their boat by dumping the contents of Monika's suitcase in the water before setting the boat on fire; Harry fought with and chased after Lelle while Monika put out the flames; together they beat up Lelle and kissed in victory
  • as the cooler fall months approached, conditions became more harsh and difficult and they experienced scarcity of food (with only a diet of mushrooms); Harry suggested: "We better go home" to provide her with a proper diet - but she didn't want to
  • Monika and Harry were forced to steal food from the apple orchard and cellar of a vacation house on the island, but Monika was apprehended by the bourgeois owners; after being brought inside as they called the police, she ran off into the woods with a hunk of stolen roast beef, where she animalistically and savagely gnawed at it as if she was a starving, ravenous and rabid creature
  • she met up with Harry in the boat who reminded her that they had to return to reality - back to a drearier and gloomier reality in doom-ridden civilization; Monika screamed: "I'm gonna have a baby, and I have no clothes, no nothing!" - Harry was more optimistic about their future: "We can't go on like this. We have to get married, and I need a job to support us"; Monika protested: " I don't want to go back... Harry, why do some people have all the luck while others are miserable?"; Harry answered: "We have each other" and hugged her while admitting the truth - that their time together had only been a dream-like experience: ("We've been in a dream of our own")

Shotgun Wedding

Viewing the Baby For the First Time

Their Claustrophobic Apartment
Harry's 'Coming of Age' Fatherhood
  • upon their return, they were forced to have a quiet shotgun marriage and live in a very claustrophobic rented apartment with their new infant daughter "Little Monika" (or June as Monika preferred) who kept them up at nights, as Harry struggled to make a living for them and attended night school to become an engineer; shortly later, the resentful and frustrated 'bad-girl floozie' Monika, who was lacking any maternal instincts, became impatient and dissatisfied with her domesticated, monogamous role as a homemaker-mother with family responsibilities; Monika played around while Harry's Auntie (Dagmar Ebbesen) took care of the child during the day
  • in the most stunning single image of the film, she turned toward the camera and locked eyes with it - breaking the 4th wall - as she sat in a bar and contemplated her new life as a mother and adult; the lighting behind her slowly faded to black; it forced the viewer, like a Rorschach test, to reflect on Monika's true character, future, and situation and almost dared the audience to judge her
  • the unsettled and promiscuous Monika would soon fall from grace; she was caught cheating by Harry in their own bed (off-screen) during an affair with her ex-boyfriend Lelle, when Harry unexpectedly returned a day early from a business trip; afterwards during a fierce argument and fight about her unfaithfulness and the fear of eviction due to Monika's overspending, Harry asked for a divorce; Monika blamed him and worried more about her looks: "You got me pregnant! Things wouldn't be like this!...And I'm all ugly now!"; she added: "I want to have fun while I'm still young"; he repeatedly struck her, and she abruptly left him; it was the end of their marriage; Harry responsibly retained custody of their child as a single father

Harry Asking Monika For a Divorce

"You got me pregnant...I'm all ugly now!"

Harry Repeatedly Hit Monika
  • the film concluded with a close-up of the grown-up Harry (who had come of age) wistfully recalling and reprising the best memories of their time together in the sun-kissed outdoors (seen in a flashback as he gazed into a mirror while holding his baby daughter 'Monika')
Harry Wistfully Recalling His Time With Monika

Harry (Lars Ekborg) and Monika (Harriet Andersson) First Meeting In Local Cafe

Movie Date

"Almost Like We're Married"

Necking Together

Deciding to Run Away Together

Rebelling Against Society

Summer on the Island

Returning to Civilization Briefly

Talking About Their Future Together

Monika Sunning Herself on Front of Boat

Harsh Conditions and a Wild Mushroom Diet

Monika Gnawing at a Hunk of Stolen Roast Beef in the Forest

Harry: "We've been in a dream of our own"

Monika: Married - But Now a 'Floozie Bad Girl'

Single-Most Stunning Image in the Film: Monika Breaking the 4th Wall and Staring into the Camera

Harry's Shocked Reaction to Seeing Lelle in Bed with His Unfaithful Wife Monika (Off-Screen)


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