August 30, 2007
Ingrid Bergman—in the footsteps of Golda
(Page 2 - Previous Page)"What are we - monkeys in a zoo?" she screamed as they started pushing up against her black limo.
Another annoyance was how to outwit the kashrut from room service, which forbade milk and meat being delivered in the same meal. Bergman soon figured out a solution: she had Margaret order meat from her room and Bergman ordered a milk meal from hers. They met in the middle and had a non-kosher meal.
It was apparent Bergman was falling in love with Golda, was becoming Golda. She went to visit Moshe Dayan at his home in Zahala. The war hero spoke of Jewish history and Jewish dreams. Bergman was enthralled by this warrior, who appeared from the shadows of his garden. He was a frail figure, but as he spoke, he became the fiery orator of old. One of his last public photos was with her.
"It's so important we're doing this picture," she told me then, "so important to tell the world the story of Israel and how Golda stood for peace."
Committed to her craft, to her character, Bergman soldiered on. To this day I do not know where she found the strength. Perhaps it was that, like Golda, she was under the shadow of death, functioning with a full career all the while suffering with cancer. Both women took chemotherapy in secret. In the movie, where Bergman as Golda is seen being smuggled into the hospital by a back entrance, the awful irony was that Bergman herself, unknown to the public, was being treated at Tel Hashomer Hospital with chemotherapy. Bergman only missed a half day of the shooting schedule. Golda attended cabinet meetings up to the end.
In the final scene of the schedule, shot in London, Bergman kept blowing her lines, which surprised everyone. After a few more unsuccessful shots, she let out a sigh.
"I can't get it right," she said, "because I don't want it to end."
Bergman died in 1982 at age 67. That same year, she received her second Emmy Award for best actress, posthumously, for her work in "A Woman Called Golda."
Marilyn Hall is executive producer of "The Little Traitor," based on the book, "Panther in the Basement," by Amos Oz and starring Alfred Molina.
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