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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
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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

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 »

Quotes

Baron von Merkens: "The Magic Flute" is the great example and I shall prove it to you at once. Tamino's guides have just left him in the dark courtyard outside the temple of wisdom and the youth calls out in the deepest despair, "O endless night, when will you be gone? When will the daylight greet my sight?" Seriously ill, Mozart feels these words with a secret intensity. And the chorus and orchestra answer with "Soon, fair youth or never." The loveliest and perhaps the most disturbing music that has ever been ...
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 Don't Look Now (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Bergman vampire movie, but without any vampires- pure, Gothic chills
26 December 2004 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Much like F.W. Murnau, or even David Lynch for that matter, Ingmar Bergman can create horror in a film, such as his rarity in the genre of Hour of the Wolf (no, no werewolves boys and girls, the title refers to something else entirely regarding the middle of the night), by imposing images that are so unbelievable as to either frighten or annoy. Bergman is no stranger to the surreal (Persona his most notorious feat, but surrealism lurks in many Bergman works), and Hour of the Wolf displays his skills at it with a precision that is un-canny. We're given a couple of characters thrust (not entirely by accident) into a strange atmosphere of people, locations, shadows, the night. And with this film, the audience is given images and scenes that are very new, even for a modern audience, but most of the film brings one back to the most chilling of the silent-film horror classics. But that's not to say this is a relatively accessible Bergman film, unless you are very much into the genre.

Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullman give strong performances as a couple (one an artist the other his pregnant wife) who arrive on an island to have some peace, where he can get some work done. But this is not the case as Von Sydow's character goes through a kind of deconstruction in the night- he can't sleep, he's shaken to intense uncomfort by neighbors, and a particular memory haunts him all the time (and once Bergman shows what it is, it becomes one of the most horrifying scenes I may have ever seen). If there is a climax to the film it's difficult to discern- the only flaw I had with the film, that sometimes it's almost TOO bizarre- however what leads up to it is a skillful work at experimental theatricality. Everything seems real enough to draw the audience in, and everything seems un-real enough for the audience to be disconnected enough to understand the surreal nature. To put it another way, it's a good film to scare the hell out of you as a midnight movie.


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