Childhood Ruined: Indiscreet (1958)

Indiscreet (1958) held a promise of adulthood for me as a kid. Not the flirting with a married man part - the scandal went right over my head! - but that an adult can consume only chocolate and milk for dinner and not get in trouble. [It looks like chocolate; it could be individually-wrapped pieces of soft cheese.]

I didn’t understand that Ingrid Bergman eating this paltry meal in a tailor-made housecoat is meant to display loneliness and depression.  She seems to be living the high life to a kid who has to dress for dinner and eat all her vegetables first.

A few minutes later, the Bergman character, still wearing her housecoat,  has cold cream all over her face during her meetcute with Cary Grant. This scene typifies an ease of life, a lack of regimentation, that I wanted very much when I grew up.

It was only later that I realized meeting him without makeup is meant to be a comic situation at Bergman’s expense since a handsome man shows up and the lady looks like a slob [or as close to it as she gets in the film; she still looks beautiful to me].

The audience is meant to contrast that first lonely meal in her house with the cheerful second one - breakfast with Grant with a fully cooked meal on a gingham tablecloth.  The scene is like a Vermeer genre piece, there’s so much strategically-placed sunshine pouring in.

She’s happy. I’m not. My childhood version of this film is ruined. 


  1. Great post. How cruel to have your childhood illusions stripped away!

    I love "Indiscreet." It always makes me laugh, and Ingrid Bergman's apartment is a total dream. All those colorful pictures on the walls! That was my illusion stripped away -- realizing that as a grown up I wouldn't have a fancy apartment like that. ;-)

  2. Ha, this was a treat. I think your version sounds better. I remember my own disappointment when I grew up and found out that Airplane! was not a creepy horror film. I'm not kidding about that one.

  3. Happy Thoughts,
    I loved all the interiors in this film! I loved that he bought her, not flowers, but a painting.

    The movie for me was just lovely people in beautiful clothes going in and out of gorgeous buildings. I did not pay attention to the story. :)

    AIRPLANE is hilarious! One of my favorites from the post-classic era (i.e. after 1965). ;)

  4. I have only recently started getting into classic movies. I spent a few weekends ago evading the heat watching several great movies, including "Gone with the Wind", on my laptop.

  5. What a bummer! I hate when movies paint false portraits. I always thought the Swiss Family Robinson had an awesome treehouse in the Disney version. But if I was shipwrecked, my abode would likely be no more than a lean-to with palm leaves.

  6. That's life. We're given a glimpse of what could be and then it is taken away.

  7. Songbirdtiff, thanks for dropping in! I found your blog about frugality very helpful. For more movie recommendations you can also check out my 12 Summer-themed Classic Movies blog post.

    CF&TVC, if I were shipwrecked, I'd probably be dead, frankly. I don't think I'd even get to the lean-to with palm leaves part. The way things go with me, I'd probably be nipped by a shark or die of some infection onboard before the ship gets wrecked.

    But I'd like to think I'm at least half as resourceful as that ingenious Swiss family. But then I don't have a pet zebra; that's probably why. :)

    Caftan Woman, you said it. :)

    Thanks everyone.
    -- Java


Thanks for your contribution to Java's Journey.


About Java

"Java's Journey: A really fun, informative well-written blog that explores all of the things - and I mean all - I love about classic films."-- Flick Chick of A Person In The Dark Email:


Blog Archive

Writer's Block Doesn't Stand a Chance