A Little Night Music (film)

A Little Night Music is a 1977 American–West German–Austrian film adaptation of the musical A Little Night Music starring Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Rigg, and Lesley-Anne Down. It also features Len Cariou, Hermione Gingold, and Laurence Guittard who reprised their Broadway roles. The film was directed by Harold Prince, his second and final feature film as director.

A Little Night Music
A Little Night Music film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHarold Prince
Produced byElliott Kastner
Screenplay byHugh Wheeler
Story byIngmar Bergman
Based onA Little Night Music
by Hugh Wheeler
StarringElizabeth Taylor
Diana Rigg
Len Cariou
Lesley-Anne Down
Music byStephen Sondheim
Jonathan Tunick
CinematographyArthur Ibbetson
Edited byJohn Jympson
S&T-Film Berlin
Distributed byNew World Pictures
Release date
  • September 30, 1977 (1977-09-30) (United States)
Running time
124 minutes
CountryUnited States
West Germany
Budget$6 million[1] or $7.2 million[2]


Fredrik Egerman (Len Cariou) is very happy in his marriage to Anne (Lesley-Anne Down), an 18-year-old virgin. However, Anne nervously has protected her virginity for the whole 11 months of marriage, and being a bit restless, Fredrik goes to see an old flame: the famous actress Desirée Armfeldt (Elizabeth Taylor).

Desirée, who is getting tired of her life, is thinking of settling down, and sets her sights on Fredrik, despite his marriage, and her own married lover Count Carl-Magnus Mittelheim (Laurence Guittard). She gets her mother to invite the Egermans to her country estate for the weekend. But when Carl-Magnus and his wife, Charlotte (Diana Rigg), appear, too, things begin to get farcical, and the night must smile for the third time before all the lovers are united.




Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for the film. He wrote the lyrics for the "Night Waltz" theme ("Love Takes Time") and wrote an entirely new version of "The Glamorous Life", which has been incorporated into several subsequent productions of the stage musical.


The setting for the film was moved from Sweden to Austria and was filmed on location.

Release and receptionEdit

The film received mostly negative reviews, with much being made of Taylor's wildly fluctuating weight from scene to scene. Some critics talked more positively of the film, with Variety calling it "an elegant looking, period romantic charade". The film has received critical praise for Diana Rigg's performance. The film currently holds an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[3]

Awards and honorsEdit

Home mediaEdit

A Little Night Music
Soundtrack album by
LabelMasterworks Broadway
ProducerJonathan Tunick

A soundtrack was released on LP. In 2013, Masterworks Broadway released an expanded edition on compact disc featuring one previously unreleased stereo track prepared for the LP and three mono tracks taken directly from the film's soundtrack.

The film was, for a time, available on VHS and Laserdisc. A DVD release was issued in June 2007. A newer version of "The Glamorous Life" was included on the new remastered version of the Original Broadway Cast Recording.


  1. ^ Ed. J. Philip di Franco, The Movie World of Roger Corman, Chelsea House Publishers, 1979 p 223
  2. ^ "Hard Act to Follow: Making Broadway Hit Into a Movie Involves Much Work, Big Risks 'A Little Night Music' Runs Over Budget, Into Snags; Few Musicals Strike Gold Miss Taylor in a Lunch Line Hard Act to Follow: A Hit on Stage Becomes a Movie Only at Big Risk" by STEPHEN GROVER Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. Wall Street Journal 23 Dec 1976: 1.
  3. ^ A Little Night Music at Rotten Tomatoes

External linksEdit