8.0/10
7,924
41 user 74 critic

Day of Wrath (1943)

Vredens dag (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, History | 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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Cast

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

Taglines:

A Drama of Fear and Superstition in the 20th Century See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Denmark

Language:

Danish

Release Date:

24 April 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Day of Wrath See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Palladium Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film has a 100% rating based on 24 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Anne Pedersdotter: I see through my tears, but no one comes to wipe them away.
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User Reviews

 
9/10
2 September 2004 | by desperatelivingSee all my reviews

One of Dreyer's most accessible works; it has a dramatic story (witch hunting!) and still investigates the characters' morality and their relation to the world they exist in. This film is about the difference between life and the soul (the life that you live now and the soul of post-life, and the soul that fills your life as you live it), those at the stake and those on trial in the home, and the spells we cast on each other. When an accused witch confesses to being one to hopefully save her life (which doesn't happen) she threatens with witchery the man who won't save her. Obviously witches don't exist, but why, when sentenced to death, would she suddenly say she has a witch's power? To frighten him? Because she believes that she must be a witch, if others think she is? Or just to scare him? It's not clear. This is Dreyer's most overtly sexual film, where sex is a weapon (that eventually leads to a death); we see the relationship between the young girl, Anne, who falls in love with her much older husband's son (the same actor who played Johannes in Dreyer's next great film, "Ordet"), and, by the end of the film, we see that she has cast her spell on him, and is herself to be accused of being a witch.

Dreyer's films, which got more difficult as he got older, don't seem to have a date; certainly period pieces like this exist in a certain time, but put "Day of Wrath" next to "Gertrud" and you'd hardly notice a twenty year difference -- or few hundred years difference, in terms of the setting. And yet Dreyer's sense of place is almost unmatched, largely because of his simplicity: the costumes seem almost amateur, the acting is theatrical -- not so much in style, but in presentation (the actors seem to have been told where to stand and when). His films exist purely within this world he created, not minding the styles of the day; he's the truest of auteurs. He is also one of the great directors of women, and here elicits excellent performances from his entire cast (keeping in mind the date of production) but especially those of the two mothers in the film, the one who is put to the stake, and the other who is the mother to Anne's much older husband.

Despite the heavy seriousness of the religious beliefs in the film, Dreyer isn't religiously driven. He is driven by the soul, but these films are not the works of a fundamentalist. Dreyer looks at the actions of the characters, which are, at their worst, adultery and murder, and uses them as a moral, spiritual, and personal crisis in which to look for nothing less than meaning in life. 9/10


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