Torment (1944) Poster

(1944)

User Reviews

Review this title
22 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
9/10
One of Bergman's bleakest, most affecting screenplays, under some dizzying Sjoberg direction
Quinoa19849 December 2005
Torment, one of the first winners of the grand jury prize at Cannes, brings forth Ingmar Bergman's first screenplay to fruition (he was only in his mid twenties when he wrote it). Although it might not be apparent, as it is an early work and it would be another dozen or so years before his true cinematic high-watermark, it is the work of an already gifted writer, in tune with what drives drama. It's sometimes hard to make moving drama out of school-life, but Bergman gets it right in that he focuses it on three characters (with the occasional stern but really good-hearted older professor character). Our protagonist, filled with enough inner conflict and aimlessness, is Vindgren played with great ambivalence, fear, and subdued passion by Alf Kjellen. He gets mixed up in a romantic affair with a woman, Bertha (Mai Zetterling, seductive even as being vulnerable) who feels abused and need some compassion from him. But, as it goes with such a practically bleak and (dare I say) naturalistic story, things are not good for either one.

Bergman and the wonderful director Alf Sjoberg, get a terrifying performance (albeit if it is sometimes two-dimensional, or maybe not) by Stig Jarrell, who plays Vindgren's manipulative, "old-school" tormenting teacher, who also happens to be attached, so to speak, with Bertha. The link drives Vindregn into the kind of despair that makes the film, in the end, really work. There's also something very curious about how the script is so precise, so dark and occasionally shocking for a film from 1944 sometimes in the guise of a romantic melodrama. Bergman knows these characters, so much so that what occurs at the least stays true to what is known to be their characters. Change occurs slowly, if at all, and with the professor especially there is a great kind of push and pull that Jarrell does- at times he's like a little puppy trying to get sympathy for 'being sick', but it's all just a guise.

Torment, in the end, is an excellent, near-great film about what it's like for the "rotten apple" of the bunch. Vindgren isn't a bad kid, but the pressures from schoolwork (nearing graduation no less) on top of his seeming love-affair with a woman more scrambled up by her relationship with the professor, things boil over. The last twenty minutes are at times totally heart-wrenching, reaching the depths that Bergman would plunge even further to with his masterpieces in the 60's and 70's. But Sjoberg goes just at the limit, which is a plus and minus, as he tries to make it appealing for the period (with Hidling Rosenberg's musical score quite fitting at times), with some interesting, expressionistic lighting techniques that add that fine coat onto the subject matter. That Bergman/Sjoberg also make the regular school-scenes believable, and even put in some interesting bits with supporting characters (the nerdy kid has a couple of good scenes, though the scene stealer is the teacher-to-teacher talk where the good tries his best to face down the bad), is of equal merit.

In short, Torment, what first set off the little spark for Bergman's career (and likely provided Sjoberg with one of his best films) is worth looking for, if at the least for Bergman fans wanting to check out all of his films, but one may find it to be one of Bergman's most searing early works.
17 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Terrific Swedish school melodrama!
romdal8 February 2007
An early board school tragedy foreshadowing the likes of If… and the Danish Det forsømte forår. Written by Bergman and directed flawlessly by Alf Sjöberg, it is the grim story of sensitive gymnasiast Widgren, who falls in love with charming but haunted Bertha (mai Zetterling at 19 years of age). A dark secret connects Bertha with the sadistic Latin teacher Caligula. The movie is extremely sincere, with ominous shadows and sharp light exposing Bertha and Widgren's tormented souls. Tensions are sky-high, and one senses that the drama will be the death of one or the other. I think I maybe saw this as a teenager, or is it just because archetypical school movie themes are played out here for the first time, and to perfection? I can hardly recommend this gem too much, I will probably upgrade it on next viewing.
16 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Hitchcock would have loved making this!
ozjeppe1 February 2007
Considered as a legendary coming-of-age work for Swedish film-making, and I can clearly see why: Scripted by Ingmar Bergman, it's a psychologically intriguing drama of morals and authority abuse, with a thriller aura, that's effectively placed in a high school setting.

Two of its story- and directorial strengths are: 1. Not turning into a standard young-lovers-on-the-run melodrama as I feared along the way. The two harassed youngsters indicate romance, indeed, but are mainly portrayed as identity strugglers on the brink of adulthood. 2. Painting a believably two-dimensional portrait of the tormentor - is he sick... or just plain evil? We also get a captivating look at school & teaching methodology. Great scene in the map room!!

And by a 1944 standard, it holds a surprisingly fresh, naturally flowing dialog for my Swedish ears! Stark B&W photography that is reminiscent of Hitchcock, contributes to its emotional tension, as well. I think the old Master would have loved making this!

7 out of 10 from Ozjeppe.
15 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A very fine and interesting film
TheLittleSongbird24 February 2013
Torment is most recognised as the screenplay debut of young Ingmar Bergman. And while there are signs of a script-writer who had more than great potential, Torment does deserve to be known for more than the debut of one of the best and most influential directors in film. For it is a very fine film indeed. It looks great, with gorgeous photography and evocative scenery. Alf Sjöberg's direction is clever and sustained, while Bergman's screenplay has both its dark and affecting moments and shows great thought and insight. The story does show signs of a chilling atmosphere, affecting melodrama(without being overly so) and also of a writer early on in his career showing what he could do while developing it to even greater heights later on in his career, the film is always involving pacing wise and the character development is subtle while always making the characters interesting. The music has moments where it is too intrusive but is overall hauntingly-composed and fitting, while the acting is marvellous, especially from Stig Järrel and Mai Zetterling. In conclusion, very, very good. 9/10 Bethany Cox
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
(Half) proof that Swedish brilliance isn't all Bergman's - he did write it.(possible spoiler)
alice liddell23 December 1999
Warning: Spoilers
When you watch on average a film a day for a period of years, you tend to see pretty much everything. I have watched films from directors such as Pudovkin, Chen Kaige, Peter Weir, Sembene, Hitchcock and Subiela. Depressingly, there are few surprises left for the ardent cinephile. Thanks, however, to critical neglect, uncategorisable directors, or unimaginative exhibitors/broadcasters, there are still some talents whose work remains obscure. Although TORMENT is most famous for the fact that it was written by the young Ingmar Bergman, director Sjoberg brings many good things that are uniquely his own, such as unabashed sensationalism, subversive ideas, sly visual jokes and a fertile contrast between his remarkably cool use of architectural space, and his hysterical Expressionism.

The film has often been compared to THE BLUE ANGEL, although Sjoberg lacks Von Sternberg's mordant irony, overriding intelligence, dramatic inevitability, visual genius or actors of such calibre as Dietrich or Jannings. Other superficial points of comparison might be ZERO DE CONDUITE without the anarchy; LES 400 COUPS without the lyrical empathy; or a psychologically loaded IF. What is most interesting is how Sjoberg takes what are now cliches of the school rebellion film, and transmutes them into a terrifying vision of mental collapse, while retaining its force of social critique.

The outstanding opening sequence is a case in point. After credits, in which two lovers embrace against a black background, cut off from any kind of reality other than that of their own making, Sjoberg shows us a school. From disorienting god-like overhead long shots, a small boy rushes across a bleached white courtyard, its vividness and unpopulatedness as striking as a dream.

This oneirism continues inside as the boy runs through the building, a frightening, neo-classical monstrosity, with forbidding steps, vast, empty circular corridors and labyrinthine stairways. The boy races as if in a Kafka nightmare, soon chased by some authority figure. The action is shot elliptically, to heighten the dreamlike, and when the boy is caught, there is an oppressive sense of foreboding.

This sequence encapsulates the film's theme in compact form. The school space is a social organism - its hierarchy and patriarchy mirrors that of the bourgeois world outside: the principal speaks of it as a training ground for that world. The imposing building represents the solidity and artifice of this system, as does the teaching of Latin (crucially considered a 'dead' language), foundation of European languages and hence social structure. But in this sequence, Sjoberg rejects it, and transposes it as a site of mental and social breakdown, continued in Caligula's lessons, where the outside rain reflects against the walls to make the room seem as if it is dissolving.

This idea of breakdown, rupture and fragmentation is centred in the character of Widgren. He exists in clearly defined realms - school; the archetypally bourgeois home with the stern father and over adoring mother - with clearly defined ideals (innocent love etc.), yet feels oppressed by both. His affair with Bertha, its transgression signified by her being a prostitute, tears him away from these realms, but also leads to mental instability, shared by the other character in contact with her, the sadistic Caligula. There is an underlying misogyny in this surprising in Bergman (although not if you are Amy Taubin), and the use of the heroine's death as a vehicle for male self-awareness leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

On the other hand, the scenes with the lovers have an extraordinary calm and beauty, even if they are constantly undermined by the melodramatic devices at Sjoberg's disposal. Nerve-jangling music, portentous use of shadow, and shock editing all combine to create an atmosphere of neurotic collapse, climaxing in two amazing sequences - Widgren's dream; and the scene with Bertha, when Widgren leaves after blissful lovemaking, and some unseen menace terrifyingly, graspingly, looms over her content. There is a rigorous examination of sexual sadism linked to social sadism: it is surely no accident that Caligula often resembles Hitler or Himmler, with his constant bullying, surveillance and moustache.

TORMENT is not quite the masterpiece it could be - on the one hand, the emphasis on narrative destroys the dreamlike poetry; on the other the lack of narrative coherence can be monotonous. But Sjoberg is an excellent melodramatic director, and if he can't quiet salvage epiphany, there is a rush of rejection and release in the film's final scene that is invigorating. This release is linked to nature, exulted in for the first time in a film oppressed by artifice, interiors and constructedness.
23 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Halfway attempt at a thriller enhanced with gorgeous black-and-white photography
J. Spurlin7 September 2009
In contrast with his best friend at school, who cites Strindberg's and Nietzsche's cynical views on women, Jan-Erik Widgren considers himself an idealist, who believes there's a chaste woman out there for him. But the adolescent schoolboy's first love proves to be a loose girl he finds stumbling around drunk one night. They become lovers, even though she has another man in her life - a man she says bullies and torments her. Meanwhile, Jan-Erik is poised to fail at school, thanks to a sadistic schoolmaster - a browbeating teacher of Latin whom all the boys refer to as Caligula.

The title sequence promises a thriller, and there are sequences that seem prepared to fulfill that promise; but it never quite pans out. The story never quite pans out as satisfactory drama either, despite some acute observations by the wiser characters and good performances from everyone. Ingmar Bergman's script comes off like gleeful revenge against an actual schoolmaster he knew.

The best thing about the movie is the gorgeous black-and-white photography from Martin Bodin, under Alf Sjöberg's direction, filled with sinister shadows of domineering figures and clutching hands and low angle shots revealing shadow-strewn ceilings.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
More than enough torment to go around
bandw10 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Jan-Erik Widgren, near graduation at a Swedish secondary school, is at particular odds with his sadistic Latin teacher whom the students have nickname "Caligula" (in honor of the reputedly cruel and sexually perverse Roman emperor). Maybe not everyone has had a teacher who is as strict a disciplinarian as Caligula, but most likely they have had a teacher provoke an emotional reaction similar to Jan-Erik's. If the classroom scenes don't make you break out in a cold sweat, they are likely to give you nightmares. At fist I thought the classroom scenes were too long, but they are essential in establishing Caligula's personality and the relationship between him and Jan-Erik. The dark shadow that Caligula casts over the proceedings is tempered somewhat by the rather benevolent personality of the older Headmaster; one of the best scenes in the movie has the Headmaster giving Caligula a crushingly frank personality appraisal.

Jan-Erik has more of the temperament of an artist than that of a Latin scholar and he has his hands full in trying to deal with Caligula, but he also gets involved with a woman of questionable moral character who complicates his life. Additionally he is in conflict with his upper-class parents who have expectations of him that he does not satisfy. He is a tormented man.

But, as you would expect from a Bergman screenplay, serious emotional complexities ensue as the plot develops. You come to understand that everyone in the film is living with their own personal torment-- Jan-Erik, his parents, his woman friend, and the school's headmaster. In a final ironic touch we see that it is Caligula who is the most tormented of all, he understands that he is an ass but he cannot help himself.

While Bergman did not direct this it would surprise no one if he had. The seeds of his future growth are clearly evident, not just in his screenplay, but in the filming. The high-contrast black-and-white is striking and the unusual camera angles add to the effect. Director Sjöberg has taken a page out of Fritz Lang's book.

The music I found to be intrusive and overly manipulative in the style of many Hollywood movies of the 40s and 50s.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
What a Frightening Figure!
Hitchcoc26 October 2009
While I believe the film to be a bit formulaic and is at the beginning of Bergman's career (of course he's the screenwriter here), this did captivate me for the most part. It has a level of intensity, mostly built by the psychotic Latin teacher. Any of us who have been in a class run by a tyrant, can feel our flesh crawl. The classroom scenes are really provocative and unsettling. When he shows that little smile, we know he is in much greater control than we realize. The biggest weakness for me was the whole thing with the shop girl. Why wouldn't she name her tormentor? How far had this relationship gone. We aren't privy to tender moments between the lovers, so we mostly see her as an unstable drunk, living in constant fear. What was the attraction. Was it strictly carnal. Was he sorry for her or taken with her in a kind of "Human Bondage" way. Anyway, I thought their relationship needed a great more. It is uplifting in its own way, however, and deserves a viewing. It really works pretty well.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Ingmar Bergman's first screenplay, portends the greatness of his future works.
jaybob20 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
As many of you may know I like to give some points of history on some of the films I first viewed when I was younger.

HETS ( aka TORMENT) was made in 1944; back then non-English speaking films were not released in the USA,until a few years passed: HETS was released in 1947, I saw it then in a small theatre on 42 nd street. I caught the 9 AM showing, the movie house was right across the street from the Employment Agency I went to first, The admission price was only $ .18 cents (price before noon)

I was 19 years old & a tale of a cruel High School teacher & the torments he gave to his young students appealed to me.. (another side note) I had thought there might be a caning or spanking scene,I was disappointed then, that there were none.

Now its 62 years later & I have just seen this film.

As we all know it is Ingmar Bergman's first screenplay. Without a doubt

it shows some of the greatness that was to come.

Alf Sjoberg directed,(he was one of Swedens best theatre & film directors.

I am not one of Mr.Berman's biggest fans, I do appreciate his artistry in fashioning a good screenplay & fine films.

My major objection is that he seems to see only the dark side of life, there was always some sadness in his films.In HETS the movie ends sadly. To me life is not always sad & gloomy,I always seem to find some joy in living, & like my films to be the same. There are some tales that do have sadness in them, an occasional sad drama is fine.

The acting is exceptionally good. Sig Jarrel is excellent as the sadistic teacher, Alf Kjellin (he was a leading player in many Englis & Hollywood films & TV up to his death about 10 yrs ago.

Mai Zetterling an star of many films & Television for many years, is the tragic young heroine.

one beef I do have & that is also with many films portraying students many seem to look older than they are supposed to be.

One more problem.There are scenes towards the ending where they complain HOW hot it is, If so, how come a few seemed to be dressed in heavy winter clothes, One adult puts on an overcoat & scarf over his suit &^ a sweater.

Aside from that this is a very good film & those that are Bergman devotees this is a must see,

Ratings ***1/2 (out of 4)92 points (out of 100) IMDb 8 (out of 10)
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
dark screenplay by Ingmar Bergman
blanche-216 May 2015
"Torment" from 1944 is a Swedish film directed by Alf Sjoberg with a screenplay by Ingmar Bergman. Bergman also directed the last scenes, which were put in later when the producer rejected the original ending.

Jan-Erik Widgren (Alf Kjellin) is a young student under the thumb of a sadistic Latin teacher, known by all the students as Caligula. Everyone is afraid of him. Interesting that this is based on some of Bergman's own experiences, as he hated school and hated the institution of school.

Jan-Erik believes that one day he will meet a chaste woman with whom to share his life, though his friend tells him it's impossible, all girls are tramps.

He starts talking with a pretty young woman (Mai Zetterling) who works in a nearby store. That night he sees her drunk on her way home, and he helps her. They have an affair, but she has another lover - she fears him and she's apparently afraid to leave him because of that fear. He's also a terrible bully.

Meanwhile, graduation is drawing near, and as Jan-Erik has his affair and tries to study, his chances for graduation aren't looking all that good. Then something happens that nearly destroys him.

Very good film, exquisitely photographed in black and white. Also, there is not a ton of dialogue. It almost could be a silent. I found the last scene absolutely beautiful.

I remember the star, Alf Kjellin, as an older character actor on shows like "Mission Impossible." Here he is very striking, tall with high cheekbones and an angular face. Mai Zetterling, who is only about 19 and very pretty in this film, is excellent as the tormented woman. She had a good career doing stage work in her native Sweden and then making films in Sweden, Britain, and America. When she turned to directing, her films were sexually liberated and were met with some controversy. She had big affairs with Tyrone Power and Herbert Lom. Her biography is fascinating.

Both give strong performances.

Stig Jarrel as Caligula was a very versatile, fine actor, and here he plays a real demon. He's frightening, like a snake poised to strike. His last scene is extremely powerful.

This film is definitely worth seeing, even though it's not perfect and not a masterpiece. Still, it's effective, with some strong images.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Beautiful and dark
Mr_Qvick25 August 2003
I've rarely seen such a dark and intimidating and superb movie from the 40:ies. Usually nordic films from this decade are pretty lame and follow a certain narrow path of simplistic comedy. This movie is very dramatic, partly thanks to Bergmans fantastic script, and Alf Sjöberg captures the moods and the weight of every moment and every pause. Every stroke of silence adds up to the feeling that keeps the beholder on the edge of his seat. Excellent classic movie!!!

The brilliance of Stig Järrel needs to be mentioned. He is so convincing in his performance that when you're leaving the movie-theater you might just see him coming around the corner with his wooden ruler...
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Does not achieve potential
mockturtle31 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I was tempted to think of this movie as a wash until I read the fantastically detailed review of it on this site (Darragh O' Donoghue). However, I still think that Sjoberg lost much of the detail and nuance in Bergman's script. His bold touches are occasionally enjoyable, like the Caligari/Nosferatu shadow at one point. It seems that Bergman was trying to draw a inference about the darkness in Widgren drawing him to the same place and person as the darkness in Stig Jarrel's teacher "Caligula." Unfortunately Widgren was cast blandly, directed blandly and played blandly. While Bergman is ready to go straight to the bottom and stay there where the real meat is, Sjoberg skims the surface. One example of this is the film's treatment of the headmaster: while in the screenplay he seems to be written as a coward who in a supremely ironic graduation scene (played obliviously straight by Sjoberg) talks about the virtues of an institution that he has just shown has no particular virtue or integrity, but rather that it is a den of impotence and hypocrisy. His ineffectual "you'll look back and laugh some day" should earn him contempt and a smack in the face. The worst offense is the ending, completely unearned, where despite the fact that things have come out in the worst possible way and "Caligula" is free to go on slinging the hets around, Widgren looks out into the future with his perfect hair blowing in the breeze.

The only character that really feels like he's out of a Bergman script, albeit an early one, is "Sandman," played by a future Bergman regular. If you look carefully you can see Gunnar Bjornstrand near the beginning. Mai Zetterling brings the most to her drunk scenes; her blank stare really makes you feel like her soul is dying. Unfortunately most of her character is just a plot device.

This just goes to show how singular Bergman is: instead of going deep into the stew Sjoberg tried to spice it up with bold but out-of-place choices and make the lead character sympathetic and boring instead of taking the chance of losing the audience's sympathy the way Bergman would again and again.
6 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Good, though a little heavy-handed
gbill-7487728 July 2017
Ingmar Bergman wrote the screenplay for this film at the age of 26, and it was his first major film. In it he shows his personal disdain for traditional schooling, which invariably included learning by rote, killing all creativity, and taught at times by sadistic teachers. In the film a Latin teacher gets the nickname 'Caligula' for his cruelty, and if his interrogations of the students remind you of a Nazi SS officer, that's no accident; director Alf Sjöberg apparently modeled him after Himmler. And yet, one of the young students says 'I don't believe a person can be all evil', and in that line we get a hint of Bergman's plumbing the depths of the human soul which would take place over the following decades.

Things get complicated when the student (Alf Kjellin) begins seeing a young tobacco shop clerk (Mai Zetterling), only to find she is being tormented by a creepy older man whose identity she won't divulge. The film has elements of the frustrated teenage rebel, as Kjellin argues with his parents who just don't understand, as well as elements of a film noir drama, as things get scary for Zetterling. Director Sjöberg makes use of a lot of high camera angles, as well as plays with light and shadow in some interesting ways, but as the film plays out, it begins to feel a little heavy-handed. Its message is one of triumphing over cruelty in the early part of one's life, even if events at the time appear as though they might crush one's soul or destroy one's life, but it doesn't quite have enough finesse to be very good or excellent. Still, not bad, and worth watching if you're a Bergman fan.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
An intriguing, though not perfect, must-see
hereontheoutside4 June 2007
The new eclipse series by the Criterion Collection is great for bringing cinephiles everywhere the opportunity to see films like this. The film is not perfect nor does it entirely submerge the viewer, but for a real fan of cinema, or more particularly Bergman, you can ask for nothing more. The film reveals Bergman's roots, it has his signature dark, brooding characters and themes, desolate landscapes, if not, at times, his own imagistic stamp.

The story, however, is maybe the engaging side of mediocrity. The film draws you into the downward spiral of the main characters (the central focus of the story) without making the world seem hopeless and desolate. But it doesn't reach the pre-poop-your-pants euphoria it seems to promise. It's almost there, but doesn't really ever clinch it.

The spiral of these characters is hidden within the world of the film. The torment, is silent, removed, intricate. The film is not what I expected from the early Bergman collection, and is not perfect, but is well worth the rent, for it's politics of the body, insight into Bergman's work and a subtle story that shames American suspense's absurdity, it's over-the-top plot structures, and its star driven sales. It's real, dark, flawed yet engaging. Worth a viewing or two.
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Magnetic directing, accessible Bergman screenplay.
davidirwin1 May 1999
Hugely enjoyable drama. The tension builds inexorably in Jan-Erik's battle with Caligula the dictatorial Latin master. One begins to swoon when the heat finally breaks and the storm rolls in. Watch for (now stock) lighting and shadow effects.
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Masterpiece.5/5
anton-65 September 2001
Great script(Ingmar Bergman)superb direction(Alf Sjöberg)and if impossible a better cinematography(Martin Bodin).

Stig Järrel is doing one of the best swedish roles I have ever seen.And the other cast is great to(specially Alf Kjellin).

Ingmar Bergman said to a Swedish newspaper before the film came out that his high-school was a hell like this.

RATING: 5/5-a master work
4 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Caligula's revenge
grisell13 June 1999
Stig Järrel plays the role of his life as the malignant teacher. I have never seen such a studied character in any movie whatsoever. The torment of Jan-Erik is quite understandable.
4 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Stig Järrel at his best!
camillamlund20 December 2018
This film is old, but good! In a suggestive black-and white Stig Järrel makes his best role, IMO. The diabolic latin teacher is fantastic in this film. A pity though that they cut two, maybe essential, scenes from the film. The story is good for an early work like this, Bergman's debut. He wrote this. If you're not discouraged by a black-and white film you're in for a treat! One of my favourites!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
With a title like "Torment", is it any surprise that it was written by Ingmar Bergman?!
MartinHafer17 May 2013
Whether you like the films of Ingmar Bergman, you've gotta admit that his movies were not exactly fun. While he made an occasional non-depressing film (like the comedy "The Devil's Eye"), for the most part, his films have themes like death, depression and hopelessness. So, although it was not directed by Bergman (he was just a novice in the industry), it's not too surprising that "Torment" was written by him.

"Torment" is set in a men's school and the students universally hate their Latin professor--who they've nicknamed 'Caligula'! They not only fear him, but they are in terror of the man and the story involves one of these students in particular, Jan-Erik Widgren. While he is not a very good student and struggles, it's made a lot worse when he meets a young lady. They become lovers but she also hides a secret--she has a tormenter and it turns out to be someone Jan-Erik knows well. There is a lot more to the film than this but I don't want to divulge more of the plot--you just need to see it for yourself.

I score the film 7 because it is very well acted and tries very hard to be realistic. However, at the same time, it's all rather unpleasant and the characters aren't exactly likable. So, if you need to see a film with likable folks and a traditional sort of plot, keep looking. It's mildly interesting and about all.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A Swedish version of "Rebel Without A Cause"?
DukeEman16 February 2003
This is a Swedish version of "Rebel Without A Cause". The screenplay by Ingmar Bergman is about a youth caught up in a complicated romance and tormented by his Latin teacher. It is a taste of things to come from Bergman. Well ahead of its time.
2 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Early Bergman
gavin694226 July 2016
An idealistic adolescent, suffering under the thumb of a sadistic schoolmaster, falls in love with a loose girl who is bullied and tormented by another lover.

On January 16, 1943, Ingmar Bergman had been appointed by the Svensk Filmindustri (SF) as an "assistant director and screenwriter" on a one-year initial contract. Bergman, who suffered illness and was hospitalized during the winter of 1942–43, wrote the screenplay for Torment, for which SF acquired the rights in July 1943. Bergman also worked on the film as assistant director under Alf Sjöberg.

This film really exists today as an example of early Bergman and little more. Sjoberg is not very well known outside of Sweden, and the film (while good) would have faded away if Criterion had not made it part of the Bergman collection. How much we can see of his directing I don't know, but the writing can clearly be analyzed for signs of things to come.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed