The lacerating Summer with Monika is today remembered as many things: an earthy rendering of young love; a dramatic turning point in Ingmar Bergman’s career; the stunning breakout of the remarkable actress Harriet Andersson, who would go on star in such Bergman classics as Through a Glass Darkly and Cries and Whispers. But when it was first released in the U.S., in 1955, Bergman’s film could hardly have seemed so auspicious. Its American rights were bought by the producer, showman, and distributor Kroger Babb, who proceeded to cut it down to just over an hour, add an English dub track and jazz score, and distribute it as Monika, the Story of a Bad Girl!. In the following clip—from a supplement on our release of Summer with Monika—Eric Schaefer, author of “Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!”: A History of Exploitation Films, 1919–1959, fills us in on how Monika ended up on the exploitation circuit.
Now check out a short clip from the dubbed, re-scored Monika, the Story of a Bad Girl!.