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4.1 out of 5 stars16
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 27 October 2014
I find it very strange that Amazon lists movies with the principle actor alongside rather than the director. Apparently this is a Max von Sydow film. And another I am reviewing today, 'Mirror', is an Anatoly Solonitsyn film. Wrong, Amazon, WRONG. No points for you. 'Hour of the Wolf' is a Ingmar Bergman film, and 'Mirror' is a film by Andrei Tarkovsky. It's the director who defines a film and it's the director's particular style that determines whether you are likely to enjoy it or not. A film is a collaborative art form, but it is the director who is clearly the 'author' of a film.

Rant over.

Hour of the Wolf is a truly terrifying horror film. I saw it years ago and it has given me nightmares ever since. I wanted to see it again but haven't felt in the mood. (I bought this DVD some years ago.) Madness and cruelty. Predatory beasts in semi-human form. Ritual humiliation and sacrifice. Also a touching, though tragic love story. I don't want to give the plot away so I can't say much more.

One very memorable scene is where the Max von Sydow character times a minute on his watch - a minute of silence. The tension is unbearable. Nothing happens in that minute - they are just waiting for the minute of silence to be over - but it's agonising. Wonderfully acted. (I timed that 'minute' and found in fact it was only about 25 seconds!)

If you like Bergman and/or you like horror films then you may well like this one. If you don't like Bergman and/or don't like horror films then will ABSOLUTELY HATE IT.
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on 22 July 2015
All time classic arrived on time.
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I can't saw that there is anything that distinguishes this film amidst Bergman's exceptional legacy, indeed it is below average for him, which is to say it is worth a viewing.

It is the story of painter, told by his wife after his disappearance, who was retreating from the world farther and farther into himself. One of the things that is frightening about it is how his perceptions, first of apparent demons approaching him, merge into reality until most of the real people on their remote island appear inhuman. It is done with a spare scenario, wonderfully without glitzy effect, which emphasizes the starkness. His wife (Ullman) is wonderful as both a dependent woman and his principal buffer with reality. The supporting characters become increasingly predator, as does the disarray of his mind and the sudden, purposeless violence that erupts.

I guess I was disappointed because I was not drawn into the spell as deeply as I have been with his similarly themed films. Recommended, but rent it. There are far better Bergman films to buy.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 January 2010
How often do artists, as opposed to professionals, feature prominently in the work of Bergman fanatic Woody Allen? Far less often than with the great Swede, I think. Creative people and their problems are always treated seriously and respectfully by Bergman, and I couldn't help thinking that Johan's wife, were this an English-language film made today, would have a support group around her of girlfriends and gay pals, telling her not to put up with his moods and consider her own needs. How times change, eh?

From the first shot of the actress walking out of her cottage towards the camera, then sitting at a garden table, I had that uneasy sensation that this wasn't going to be another masterpiece. Well, maybe it is and the subject matter - artist's demons infect his wife's psyche - makes one unwilling to use the word masterpiece. No matter. The Hour Of The Wolf, referring to the darkest hour of the night, is a creepy movie about the vulnerability of genius and the suffocating effect of co-dependency, with a taciturn performance by Von Sydow to place alongside the small but more humorous turn provided by Woody Allen in Hannah And Her Sisters [DVD] [1986]. A study of fear comparable to Chekhov's The Black Monk, but ultimately dissatisfying and not to be exalted with Persona, Wild Strawberries, or Through A Glass Darkly. We never get to see any of Johan's drawings or paintings, so it's hard to really believe in his genius.

At time of writing, Amazon are selling it for under 3GBP, so it's well worth having for that price and always good to explore the lesser known Bergman. I'd be interested to know whether it in any way inspired Von Trier's Antikrist.
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on 16 June 2012
The description of this DVD includes a reference to "Subtitles : English" but that doesn't tell the whole story. What are included in the DVD are "Hard of hearing" English subtitles. If you haven't come across these horrific things, whilst they translate the dialogue they also include comments such as "people laughing", "door slamming" and "dog barking", get it?
I accept that there is probably a (fairly small) market for these type of subtitles, but the inclusion of only subtitles of this nature in a film should be made very clear ; for me they make a film unwatchable.
I would return this DVD to Amazon but unfortunately had removed the wrapper and started to watch the film before becoming aware of this drawback.
So unless you can read the Italian or Swedish "normal "subtitles, I would advise you to steer well clear of this version of the film.
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on 26 October 2004
This film shows that despite his deserved reputation, Bergman could make trash with the best of them. Despite the usual pretentious conversations 'Wolf' no doubt generates, it appears to be little more than an over-wrought study of homosexual panic in the thespian community.
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