While vacationing on a remote German island with his pregnant wife, an artist has an emotional breakdown while confronting his repressed desires.
- Johan Borg: Max von Sydow
- Alma Borg: Liv Ullmann
- Corinne von Merkens: Gertrud Fridh
- Lindhorst: Georg Rydeberg
- Baron von Merkens: Erland Josephson
- Old Lady with Hat: Naima Wifstrand
- Heerbrand: Ulf Johansson
- Gamla Fru von Merkens: Gudrun Brost
- Ernst von Merkens: Bertil Anderberg
- Veronica Vogler: Ingrid Thulin
- von Merken’s Maid (uncredited): Agda Helin
- Kreisler (uncredited): Lenn Hjortzberg
- Boy in Dream (uncredited): Mikael Rundquist
- Corpse in Mortuary (uncredited): Mona Seilitz
- Tamino (uncredited): Folke Sundquist
- Writer: Ingmar Bergman
- Music: Lars Johan Werle
- Director of Photography: Sven Nykvist
- Editor: Ulla Ryghe
- Costume Design: Mago
- Production Manager: Lars-Owe Carlberg
- Sound Designer: Lennart Engholm
- Sound Designer: Per-Olof Pettersson
- Sound Mixer: Olle Jacobsson
- Production Design: Marik Vos-Lundh
- Makeup Artist: Kjell Gustavsson
- Assistant Camera: Roland Lundin
- Assistant Director: Lenn Hjortzberg
- Props: Karl-Arne Bergman
- Makeup Artist: Börje Lundh
- Sound Effects: Evald Andersson
- Assistant Costume Designer: Eivor Kullberg
- Makeup Artist: Tina Johansson
- Assistant Camera: Anders Bodin
- John Chard: Now is when most nightmares come to us…
Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen) is written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. It stars Max Von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Gertrud Fridh, Georg Rydeberg and Ingrid Thulin. Music is by Lars Johan Werle and cinematography by Sven Nyquist.
While vacationing on a remote Scandanavian island with his younger pregnant wife, an artist has an emotional breakdown while confronting his repressed desires.
Is this really Ingmar Bergman’s only genuine horror movie? I would argue that pretty much most of his movies have horrific elements. That said, this one is haunting in its dissection of a fragmented mind, to see the unravelling of an artistic persona tortured by repression, doubt and a nightmarish world that he, or us, are not sure exists or not.
When Bergman was at his pomp, he had this knack of drawing in his audience to be part of his plays, so it be here. Sydow yet again gives his all for his director, absolutely sinking into the role of troubled artist Johan Borg. Ullman (playing pregnant and genuinely pregnant with Bergman’s child), yet again hits all the emotive discordant notes of a woman in love but fearful of where both her sanity – and that of her husband – is heading.
As Johan’s drawings start to take on disturbing overtones (we don’t see them, he narrates to his wife but we get the picture), we then get pulled into Bergman’s world of flashbacks and the question of reality or nightmares?. Here the director unleashes his weapons of choice, human demons – grotesques, all cloaked magnificently by cinematographer Nyquist who once again follows his leader down the road of chilly expressionism.
Alma (Ullman) quite early on announces that couples who are together for so long start to resemble each other, so is it any coincidence that as things reach fever pitch Johan is wearing lipstick? Are we to buy into the notion that Sydow’s character’s under Bergman are in fact his alter egos? Does it matter? No it doesn’t, for Bergman is a fascinating director (I personally don’t like all his films), what you do come away with is a feeling of being invaded mentally – and joyously so. 8/10