Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen)

1968

Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen)

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89%

TOMATOMETER

Reviews Counted: 18

86%
liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,760

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Reviews Count: 0
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AUDIENCE SCORE

86%
Average Rating: 3.9/5

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Movie Info

The Hour of the Wolf (original Swedish title: Vargtimmen) is Ingmar Bergman's spin on the demons that plague his fellow creative artists. Max von Sydow plays a painter who, while spending a summer in seclusion with his pregnant wife Liv Ullmann, is visited by bizarre and disturbing visions. Before long, Ullmann is also experiencing her husband's hallucinations; one of these, an old, faceless woman, advises Ullmann to read Von Sydow's diary. Doing so, Ullmann discovers that her husband has been cheating on her with Ingrid Thulin. In the subsequent domestic squabble, Von Sydow shoots and wounds his wife. The artist's punishment for this behavior is to have his lover, now dead, spring back to life and humiliate him in full view of Ullmann. Hour of the Wolf has something to say about the dangers of artists becoming too self-centered and self-involved; one hopes that most artists are not as thoroughly punished (or punishable) as Max Von Sydow.

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Cast

Max von Sydow
as Johan Borg
Liv Ullmann
as Alma Borg
Erland Josephson
as Baron Von Merkens
Gertrud Fridh
as Corinne Von Merkens
Georg Rydeberg
as Arkivarie Lindhorst
Gudrun Brost
as Gamla Fru von Merkens
Bertil Anderberg
as Ernst Von Merkens
Ulf Johansson
as Kurator Heerbrand
Naima Wifstrand
as Old Lady with Hat
Ingrid Thulin
as Veronica Vogler
Lenn Hjortzberg
as Kapellmastare Kreisler
Agda Helin
as Maidservant
Mikael Rundquist
as Boy in dream
Mona Seilitz
as Woman in Mortuary
Folke Sundquist
as Tamino I. Trollflojten
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Critic Reviews for Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen)

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (4)

Audience Reviews for Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen)

gorgeous to look at and creepy as hell. max von sydow's dreams invade real life and not only his own

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

as with many bergman films, i toiled for some time to find a worthwhile and redeemable interpretation, but thankfully, this one gained a slight amount of clarity by the end. not in line with bergman's more masterful works, but not as bad as his overdone floundering films either. some of the dialogue was interesting and max von sydow was convincing as usual.

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer

Hour of the Wolf is the only horror film Ingmar Bergman ever made. And it's amazing. Clearly influenced here by German Expressionism, Bergman and cinematographer Sven Nykvist use exaggerated and stylized light and shadow and deliberately disorienting camera angles to full affect. Bergman's penchant for intense, unblinking close-ups compliments this style of shooting well, and adds a sense of the surreal to the already bizarre happenings. The performances of the castle apparitions -- by actors such as Erland Josephson, Bertil Anderberg, and Ingrid Thulin -- certainly have a definite expressionist, stylized feel to them as well. This expressionist sensibility also calls for the dramatic externalization of the internal; this fits the subject matter of the film in two ways. First and most obvious, the expression of Johan's inner turmoil breaks the psychological barriers between self and other and between reality and unreality (and later, between life and death) necessary for Bergman to create true horror. Second, and a bit less obvious on the surface, is Bergman's own expression here of the internal realities of his own life. It may seem a bit too on-the-nose, but is there any doubt that Von Sydow's Johan is a stand-in for the writer/director himself? The character is a troubled, brilliant artist whose creative visions and past both interfere with his relationship with his pregnant wife. It is certainly no coincidence that the wife in question is played by Liv Ullmann, who at the time was herself pregnant with Bergman's child; the demands of Bergman's art and personality had threatened for a while to tear the two of them apart. There is clearly a dark side to the creative impulse, and its obsessions can impair life in the real world, whether for fictitious artist Johan Borg or real-life Ingmar Bergman. Perhaps that's why this film strikes such a chord: it feels personal, while at the same time fiercely artistic. A must-see for psychological horror fans.

Jonathan Hutchings
Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

A difficult sit to be sure, but Ingmar Bergman's stab at surrealist horror is a delight. It's thematically sort of fuzzy, barely frightening at all, and maybe a bit underconfident (Liv Ullmann's bookend monologues are interesting to see but ultimately unnecessary), both of which are acceptable losses when you consider that this is a genre Bergman had never attempted. I'm sure the movie's brooding isolationism and pervasive sense of danger were much scarier forty years ago sitting in a theater...I think that, more than a lot of movies, this gets garroted a bit by a home viewing. Still, it's mysterious and well-acted and spare in the best way, and definitely worth a watch if you like unconventional horror films.

Drew Smith
Drew Smith

Super Reviewer

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