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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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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)
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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 converses with Laurentius on his death bed, a microphone is visible at the top of the frame. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Featured in Histoire(s) du cinéma: Les signes parmi nous (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
like a trip back in time
9 February 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

(BTW, I liked MisterWhiplash's 1/19/2006 comments.)

Dreyer's "Day of Wrath" is a terrifying trip back to the early seventeenth century, only without modern conveniences like motor vehicles to get one the Heck out of a crazy community on a perpetual witch hunt. It is a brave film made under military occupation. It depicts life under totalitarianism. It is slowly paced, but not boring.

The sequences up to and including the pyre scene are very moving; and certainly have inspired other films.

The principal story revolves around a family of four. There's Anne as the young wife of the aging pastor; Absalon, the pastor; Merete, the pastor's mother and Martin the pastor's son. Anne is hated by Merete, one of the most unreasonable figures in the history of cinema. Unfortunately, Merete is well represented by the rest of the community, which is perpetually on the lookout for witches. So, Anne naturally fears she will be denounced.

The pastor, psychopathic by today's standards, doesn't satisfy Anne in any way. So, Anne seeks it with Martin, at the risk of giving Merete some food for fodder. Dreyer depicts Anne's love very romantic. There's a scene on a rowboat, in a corn field, by the water. Each location is pleasant, hopeful, and a complete contrast to home life with Absalon.

Dreyer's film achieves greatness as he opens the scant possibility that maybe Anne is really a witch after all. In so doing, he takes us emotionally back to the seventeenth century and has us judge her, just as we've seen the grim-faced clergy members do before. He is making us think like members of the Inquisition!

This is a complex, brilliant movie made under Nazi occupation about totalitarianism in a parochial, seventeenth century community. It is a miracle it was made at all, and certainly inspires great interest during today's troubled times.


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