An artist in crisis is haunted by nightmares from the past in Ingmar Bergman's only horror film, which takes place on a windy island. During "the hour of the wolf" - between midnight and dawn - he tells his wife about his most painful memories.Written by
Fredrik Klasson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"The Hour of the Wolf" is the hour between night and dawn. It is the hour when most people die. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful.
Ingmar Bergman originally penned the script in 1964 under the title "The Cannibals". A serious bout of pneumonia led him to reconsider the project whilst lying in hospital; he deemed it to be potentially too expensive in concept and execution. Bergman revised the script idea into a more low budget piece to accompany Persona (1966). See more »
There exists an earlier version of the film with an additional, meta-cinematic framing device. In the prologue (lasting about 7 minutes), Bergman is seen on the set directing his actors. The epilogue (lasting about 1 minute) shows us the set being torn down and the crew leaving. These sequences are the only differences to the commonly seen version. Bergman has stated in an interview that he cut off these sequences himself before the general release of the film, as he came to the conclusion that they were just "self-deception". Despite this, a Swedish 35 mm print of the original, longer version does exist, although it's not available on home video in any format. See more »
Our early encounters with Johan Borg, played by the enigmatic, Max von Sydow do not encourage our sympathy. The painter seems troubled but boorish with it and something of a bully. Liv Ullmann is wonderful as his long suffering wife, Alma, and really tries to help her husband overcome his illness. This is the reason they are on the (deserted?) island, to give him a chance to overcome his demons. And what demons! For the first half of the film we are about as bemused as Alma as to what is going on with all the various encounters, but as the film progresses we are drawn in further, as is she. The artist overcome by his own creative imaginings or a sick man struggling with his nightmares? Can one tell the difference in the end? As the two main characters finally fall in together, dragging us with them a full blown Gothic melodrama opens up and almost engulfs us all. Most original and horrifying work. I don't know if it was just me but I had to play this with 'hard of hearing' English as I could find no other English track on the DVD.
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