7.7/10
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81 user 69 critic

Hour of the Wolf (1968)

Vargtimmen (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Horror | 9 April 1968 (USA)
While vacationing on a remote Scandanavian island with his younger pregnant wife, an artist has an emotional breakdown while confronting his repressed desires.

Director:

Ingmar Bergman

Writer:

Ingmar Bergman
Reviews
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Max von Sydow ... Johan Borg
Liv Ullmann ... Alma Borg
Gertrud Fridh ... Corinne von Merkens
Georg Rydeberg ... Lindhorst
Erland Josephson ... Baron von Merkens
Naima Wifstrand ... Old Lady with Hat
Ulf Johansson ... Heerbrand
Gudrun Brost ... Gamla Fru von Merkens
Bertil Anderberg ... Ernst von Merkens
Ingrid Thulin ... Veronica Vogler
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Storyline

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 <fredrik.klasson@boras.mail.telia.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"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.

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Sweden

Language:

Swedish | Norwegian

Release Date:

9 April 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hour of the Wolf See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Quotes

Alma Borg: Do you think I like to watch you running after that woman, talking to your ridiculous ghosts, having to guard myself the whole time?
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Saraband (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Genuine horror
30 July 2005 | by neil-313See all my reviews

This seems to be one that divides fans of the master, but I loved it. It's easy to see why people see this as being a bit of an odd-one-out in Bergman's output: it's very direct in it's depiction of disturbed states of mind, directly illustrating hallucinatory states rather than just hinting at them. Others have pointed to references to other films of the horror genre, which seem undeniable.

Not that you'd mistake this for a film by anyone but Bergman. It's rich in connections with other of his films and autobiographical references (such as the terrifying description of being locked in a cupboard as a child). It can be reasonably thought of as Bergman's 'horror film' but he takes on the genre very much on his own terms.

It's a film that lingers long in the mind, with many unforgettable scenes (including the amazing Magic Flute scene) aided by Sven Nykvist's wonderful chiaroscuro photography. The use of music is (as ever with Bergman, the most musical of directors) extremely intelligent: the scene with the boy is set apart from the rest as much by the music as the photography.

Given the quality of the cast, you'd expect superb performances. As ever, von Sydow and Ullmann are excellent, with equally good supporting performances.

At times I was reminded of Rilke's only novel, The Notebook of Malte Laurids Brigge. If you don't know this, I urge you to seek out a copy: there's a distinctly Bergmanesque atmosphere to the whole work, but there are specific images that seem to link to this film.

This is a film that repays repeated viewings. Despite it's extremely disturbing subject matter, to me it's not as emotionally draining as many of Bergman's other films (such as Shame or Winter Light), in spite of (or perhaps because of) the visual horrors on display. Still, I recommend it very highly.


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