43 user 71 critic

Day of Wrath (1943)

Vredens dag (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 24 April 1948 (USA)
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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Uncredited cast:
Kirsten Andreasen ...
Sigurd Berg ...
Harald Holst ...
The Bishop (uncredited)
Emanuel Jørgensen ...
Sophie Knudsen ...
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 ...
Thorkild Roose ...
Rev. Absalon Pederssøn (uncredited)
Anna Svierkier ...
Herlofs Marte (uncredited)
Hans Christian Sørensen ...
Olaf Ussing ...
Laurentius (uncredited)


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


A Strange Love Story - Told With Startling Frankness by Carl Dreyer, world-famous director.




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 April 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Day of Wrath  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


The film is set in 1623. But at the back of the main room, where much of the action takes place, is a large wooden chest with a Latin inscription, mostly legible: "[Quae?] parum novit nemo docere potest 1639." See more »


Rev. Absalon Pederssøn: I must look into myself. I have much to speak to God about.
See more »


Featured in Carl Th. Dreyer: My Métier (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

In Majorem Gloriam Dei
28 June 2006 | by See all my reviews

Dreyer's pictures are absolutely mind-boggling .We seem to be in a Rembrandt's or Georges de la Tour's painting.He works with his camera the way a painter does with light to create different textures ,highlights and shadows.The scenes inside the minister's house where the world is still the prey of the good/evil concept are in direct contrast to those ,luminous and pastoral,where the lovers try to reinvent life:some kind of Garden of Eden,which the apple tree on the picture has promised.

Anne's passion was doomed from the start:her situation recalls that of Phaedra:both are pure even in sin,both are victims of an implacable heredity.Even before Martin's appearance ,the over-possessive mother leaves her no chance at all.

Remarkable sequences: the old woman's "trial",her tortures,her screams (I'm not afraid of Heaven or Hell ,I'm afraid to die!" Her death at the stake ,with Ann looking through the window pane ,and realizing it's an omen.The children singing terrifying canticles about God's wrath.

The minister beginning to wonder if his faith is strong enough and the wife's infamous revelation.

The nature which was a refuge, the only sunlight the lovers could get,becomes misty ,almost dark,as the young man has lost all his hopes and illusions."No,Ann says ,it all begins" It's the seventeenth century and Ann is too ahead of her time.She and the old woman are the real human beings in the movie:the minister and his sinister mother are already dead when the film begins as much as the dying man he comforts in his last hour .Martin has got himself tangled up in remorse,superstitions (You've got a magic power) and if life means rebellion and fight ,his surrender leaves him a living dead.

The old woman ,the "witch" ,is afraid to die,which is human:Jeanne D'Arc herself,another "witch" which inspired CT Dreyer had her moments of doubt and fear,and she abjured to save her life .

"Vredens Dag" can still grab today's audience.This is a must.

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