A Little Night Music

The title is from Mozart. The idea is from Ingmar Bergman. The opening scene is from "Gigi." Wouldn't you think "A Little Night Music" would be a rich mixture?

It is, in the sense that a gift box of chocolates is, with its ribbons and paper lace and gooey goodies that are ostentatiously over-rich. To those who like that sort of thing, it's good at the time, but when you thnak about it afterward, you could have gotten something more enjoyable for the calories; to those who don't have a taste for this type of sweets, it's revolting.

In addition to its indebtedness to the above artists, of whom Bergman is the only one acknowledge in the credits, the film has Stephen Sondheim as composer, Harold Prince as director and our own local actress, Elizabeth Taylor, as star. Each of them has better credits elsewhere, too.

But for candy-box addicts, it has its rewards. The grand country homes, the way Hermione Gingold throws and around jewels and half-remembered lovers, the scenes in which various ladies fall back, in an excess of emotion, on lace pillows, the way Elizabeth Taylor is laced into the Edwardian hour-glass figure. Not the songs or the dialogue, however.

Considering that it aspires to be a turn-of-the-country Viennese operetta, one could consider that the advantages do not compensate for the drawbacks. But if it is compared to ordinary film sex farce, the added sweeteners make it easier to take.