Portrait of Ingrid Bergman (Photo by Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty Images)
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In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ingrid Bergman talked about how she was introduced to what her “best side” was on the set of her first Hollywood film, 1939’s “Intermezzo: A Love Story.” The “best side” referred to the side of an actor’s face that was more flattering to photograph, and it defined Bergman’s career until she went to make a non-Hollywood film in Italy.
Bergman admitted that the concept was new to her when she was photographed on the set of “Intermezzo.” She didn’t disclose which side that was, but admitted that it made her very self-conscious that this side was always captured, saying, “You want to look your best, and you think that maybe the difference is so enormous that I must be very careful.”
Because Hollywood directors knew about Bergman’s “best side,” she thought it would be the same when she went to film with Italian director Roberto Rossellini. Instead, according to Bergman, he said, “‘Your best side? I'm making a movie, and, I mean, I couldn't care less! I'm going to be on the side that suits my action’” which Bergman admitted was the correct response.
Bergman realized that Hollywood’s vanity had nothing to do with good filmmaking and acting. She stated, “I mean, actors shouldn't be so vain that they always, always have to look their best. They should try to be good in the part and play it as truthfully as they can, and try to forget about how they look.”