A Little Night Music Fredrik Egerman is very happy in his marriage to a seventeen-year-old virgin, Anne. Only she’s been a virgin for the whole eleven months of the marriage, and being a bit restless, Fredrik goes to see an old flame, the famous actress Desiree Armfeldt. Desiree is getting tired of her life, and is thinking of settling down, and sets her sights on Fredrik, despite his marriage, and her own married lover Count Carl-Magnus. She gets her mother to invite the Egermans to her country estate for the weekend. But when Carl-Magnus and his wife Charlotte appear, too, things begin to get farcical (Send in the Clowns), and the night must smile for the third time before all the lovers are united.
A Little Night Music I love this Sondheim masterpiece and having seen what Sondheim considers the finest staging ever (New York City Opera) live and on video many times over, the movie still has significant virtues. It was widely panned and dismissed as if all the film critics secretly met and took a vote to hate it together. Yes, some songs have been cut and some themes (most sadly, Mme. Armfeldt’s) basically eliminated. But there are still some truly definitive performances and beautifully mounted scenes. And Elizabeth Taylor is far from terrible in her part. Unfortunately the current film on video is in terrible deterioration. This film deserves to be preserved as a rare film adaptation in Sondheim library. Remember the horrible film versions of Funny Thing Happened…, South Pacific and other great Broadway musicals that received poor screen adaptations. Taken in context of how seldom movie versions successfully transfer to the screen, A Little Night Music is not great but is certainly good, and far better than many other movie musicals that seem to be held in higher esteem than they deserve.