One can see Bergman getting his angst ridden feet on the ground in this early work. He tells the story of Bo, a young man home on leave, who is looking back on his childhood. He is the twelve year old son of a stationmaster, and he has knowledge of the local steam engine. He has driven it, but only with a young man who knows the ropes. He has turned into a full blown brat who feels that any limitations on his wishes are dealt with in anger. He expresses hatred toward his father who is basically doing what father's do. His mother is doting and allows this behavior. One day, after an argument with his father where he is incredibly disrespectful, he runs off. He meets a group of traveling musicians and the blind daughter of one of them. His hatred of adults continues and he talks the little girl into taking off with him. They get on the train engine and, without permission, he starts it and heads down the track. A group of railroad workers are repairing the track and the engine goes down an embankment. He is injured slightly, but the little girl is killed. He carries this with him. His father slaps him over and over and his mother comforts him. He has become a very talented trumpet player. Upon his return to his home (where his family, including his father, show kindness toward him) he reconnects with Eva, a pretty young woman who has grown to up since he left. She lives with her Grandma and Grandpa, who is near death. The two watch as the old lady attends to her husband. Once again the mysteries of death are confronted. Bo feels again the overwhelming weight of the unknown. Eva is positive and is more down to earth. The two have a tryst and swear their love to one another. But he still carries the guilt of the childhood event and has trouble. Cutting to the city where Bo is living with a fellow bad member and his loose girlfriend, he is propositioned by her. They use him as a plaything, even making it look like he murdered his friend. He escapes when Eva shows up. This leads to a final scene where Bergman puts his characters to the test. It's a ragged, but captivating film.
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During WW2 in neutral Sweden, young sailor Bo, son of a railway stationmaster, comes home from the Navy and reminisces a childhood accident. At age twelve, he ran away in a steam locomotive together with a blind 10-year-old girl. The
October 11, 2021