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The Night Visitor (1971)

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A man named Salem escapes from an insane asylum where he was confined for an axe-murder. Falsely convicted under a plea of "guilty due to insanity", he does not plan to let his sister and ... See full summary »


Laslo Benedek


Guy Elmes (screenplay), Samuel Roeca (based on an original story by) (as Sam Roecca)





Complete credited cast:
Max von Sydow ... Salem
Trevor Howard ... Inspector
Liv Ullmann ... Ester Jenks
Per Oscarsson ... Dr. Anton Jenks
Rupert Davies ... Mr. Clemens
Andrew Keir ... Dr. Kemp
Jim Kennedy Jim Kennedy ... Carl
Arthur Hewlett ... Pop
Hanne Bork Hanne Bork ... Emmie
Gretchen Franklin Gretchen Franklin ... Mrs. Hansen
Bjørn Watt-Boolsen Bjørn Watt-Boolsen ... Mr. Torens (as Bjorn Watt-Boolsen)
Lotte Freddie Lotte Freddie ... Britt Torens
Erik Kühnau Erik Kühnau ... Police Doctor (as Erik Kuhnau)


A man named Salem escapes from an insane asylum where he was confined for an axe-murder. Falsely convicted under a plea of "guilty due to insanity", he does not plan to let his sister and her husband forget that they were responsible for the murder of a farmhand and for his cruel imprisonment in the asylum. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Locked in the cold asylum of his mind - a sane man stalks his prey...a haunting story of the possible See more »


Crime | Thriller | Horror


GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Sweden | USA



Release Date:

7 February 1972 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Lunatic See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The first director attached to this project, in the early 1960s, was Robert Siodmak. See more »


When Salem is returning to his cell, the second time, just before he locks the door. See more »


The Parrot: Salem, come to supper!
See more »

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User Reviews

Chilly tale of axe murder and madness
13 October 2015 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

I guess that if Ingmar Bergman had ever made an out-and-out horror film, THE NIGHT VISITOR is what it would have looked like. This obscure USA/Sweden co-production brings together two of Bergman's favourite actors (Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullman) in a tale of madness, desperation, revenge, and sinister murder. It's quite a vicious film even though the on-screen violence is limited and the viewer never sees much of what's actually taking place.

The film's chilly, snowbound northern setting (Jutland) is as much a character as the cast themselves, and the story certainly has a unique feel to it: slow, stately, very much like an art-house film, but with dark revenge/thriller plotting. I liked it; there's style to spare, and some ingenious situations as we see Von Sydow's character putting the impossible into action.

The film is also notable for an exemplary cast. Aside from the Swedish luminaries, we get a real old timer as the detective (Trevor Howard) alongside popular Swedish actor Per Oscarsson, and supporting roles for two Hammer star Brits, Rupert Davies and Andrew Keir. THE NIGHT VISITOR certainly isn't for all tastes, but it's an odd film indeed: quiet and yet spellbinding at the same time.

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