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Day of Wrath (1943)
"Vredens dag" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  24 April 1948 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 5,666 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 62 critic

The young wife of an aging priest falls in love with his son amidst the horror of a merciless witch hunt in 17th century Denmark.

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Title: Day of Wrath (1943)

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Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Kirsten Andreasen ...
(uncredited)
Sigurd Berg ...
(uncredited)
Harald Holst ...
(uncredited)
...
The Bishop (uncredited)
Emanuel Jørgensen ...
(uncredited)
Sophie Knudsen ...
(uncredited)
Preben Lerdorff Rye ...
Martin (Absalon's son from first marriage) (uncredited)
Lisbeth Movin ...
Anne Pedersdotter (Absalon's second wife) (uncredited)
Preben Neergaard ...
Degn (uncredited)
Sigrid Neiiendam ...
Merete (Absalon's mother) (uncredited)
Emilie Nielsen ...
(uncredited)
Thorkild Roose ...
Rev. Absalon Pederssøn (uncredited)
Anna Svierkier ...
Herlofs Marte (uncredited)
Hans Christian Sørensen ...
(uncredited)
Olaf Ussing ...
Laurentius (uncredited)
Edit

Storyline

In a 17th-century Danish village, an old woman is accused of witchcraft. In the shadow of her flight, capture, confession, and burning at the stake, the young wife of the town's aging pastor falls in love with the pastor's son. Her confession of this illicit affair to her husband brings on her husband's death. At the funeral the pastor's mother denounces the young widow as a witch. Will the widow's lover come to her defense, or has the day of wrath returned? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 April 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Day of Wrath  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Though the film is outwardly a chronicle of a religious witch-hunt, it contained many subtler comparisons to the behavior of the Nazis (torture and questioning) and Carl Theodor Dreyer fled Denmark for Sweden where he remained until the war was over. See more »

Goofs

When Absalon is returning to his house through the field, a strong wind can be heard and the grass between the two fences is seen moving. However, the grass beyond the farthest fence, only a few feet away, is perfectly still. See more »

Quotes

Rev. Absalon Pederssøn: There is nothing so quiet as a heart that has ceased to beat.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Carl Th. Dreyer (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

Temporality vs. Trascendence
15 November 2003 | by See all my reviews

Dreyer's feature from the 40's (he roughly made one in each of the last four decades of his life) is another example of his unique talent. Day of Wrath is less whitish than other of his films, but the director's trademark lighting is at it best here. The film has elements in common with The Passion f Joan D'Arc, dealing with a powerful leading female and matters of Grace, witchcraft and Puritanism.

Dreyer masters a somehow theatrical plot with pure mise-en-scéne, using constant intercutting between indoor and outdoor spaces. The oppression of the family house, determined by heavy shadows and a mummified environment, is superbly embodied by his actors, all of them complex and full of grey zones, people that hide the most of their performances, and whose deliveries are effective and economic thanks to Dreyer's direction. He seems to direct their eyes only, the barren faces around them becoming a sort of empty canvas. The family and the world surrounding it invoke questions of transcendence that their own fails and temporality contradicts. That temporality is portrayed by an ever-present tick tack of a wall clock. Anne's fall occurs not because of his sin, rather because of her submission to the transcendence of love that seems to be impossible in such a universe, where the possibility of a passion leads inevitably to a Passion, in strictly religious terms.

As in other Dreyer's films, simple actions become memorable moments through the director's portrait and comment of them, like when the young son drinks from Anne's hands like a docile dog or the lovers' kissing behind the grass. A fantastic personal film from one of the most remarkable and coherent filmmakers of all time.


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