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Day Of Wrath [1943] [DVD]
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 11 October 2009
Filmed by Dreyer in Denmark under the Nazi occupation,,the atmosphere of persecution and paranoia during a witch hunt through a 1620s Danish village is well captured.The parson's wife Anne(Lisbeth Movin)tries to save an elderly woman(Anna Svierkier) from being caught as a witch.Anne is the young second wife of Reverend Absolom,who saved Anne's mother from being tried as a witch.Herlofs Marthe is tortured and burned at the stake, cursing Absolom as she is put to the stake.The Absolom household is thrown into confusion as Anne falls in love with Absolom's returning son,Martin,under the suspicious gaze of Meret,Absolom's domineering,possessive mother.Absolom's marriage is loveless and childless,preferring to talk to God than his beautiful young wife.Anne wishes her husband,out in a storm,was dead,telling first Martin and then Absolom,who dies of heart attack on his return.In declaring her thoughts,she opens herself to denunciation,believing herself to have entered a secret hereditary vocation of evil.Dreyer's Rembrandt-like compositions and lighting,his fluid camera movement,minimal lighting and shadows of the austere,claustrophobic interiors,in contrast to the pastoral escapes into the open landscape of the young lovers,above all Movin's sexually charged performance as Anne,whose desires and sensuality are equated to satanism by the narrow minded.Dreyer highlights women's plight of how men co opt religious dogma to oppress and punish female desires.There is little chance of redemption.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Carl Th. Dreyer is a director in dire need of rediscovery by cineasts and dedicated tv broadcaster alike. DAY OF WRATH and ORDET used to figure frequently on prominent critics 10 BEST FILMS EVER lists ever but lately this Danish auteur seems to have been sidetracked. Now DAY OF WRATH and ORDET are again released in glorious, restored versions. Both utterly compelling films going straight for your brain and throat. These two masterpieces are complimented by Dreyer's last ouevre GERTRUD, a work with which the darling director of the young French New Wave directors managed to split a world of critics into two shouting halves. Also included in the beautiful box is a stunning new documentary. Treat yourself, treat your school, treat your viewers. It's doesn't come better.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2006
First and foremost, yes this is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Dreyer bases his story on a historical episode which took place in Norway in the 16.th century (Norway being part of Denmark then). As far as I remember, the priest's widow was acquitted of witchcraft and thus escaped the fire - the young woman (Lisbeth Movin) in the film is not so lucky.

It was said of Dreyer, that he made his actors do their uttermost to become the caracters they were supposed to play. The priest (Thorkil Roose) and his mother (Sigrid Neiiendam)were both actors at the Royal Theatre, the young people, the wife (Lisbeth Movin) and the priest's son (Preben Lerdorff Rye)had just started their careers. Preben L-R became a distinguished actor both at the theatre and in films - he often played villains! Lisbeth Movin withdrew early - her role in "The Day of Wrath" was the climax of her career. The scenes between her and her elderly husband are touching, he knows, that he is losing her but gives her what happiness he can - hoping she will respond in some way.

The film is beautifully photographed, the scenes in the torturechamber resembles a dutch baroque painting (the statist were artists, hence the beards!).

I hope, that many will see this film - it (and Dreyer) deserves it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2007
Stark spellbinding religious tale by the great Carl Dreyer is not quite as good as Ordet but comes pretty close.

Set in 17th century Denmark,Herlofs Marte ( a superb Anna Svierkier)is sentenced to death for witchcraft ;she curses her chief accussor Absalon Pedersson ( Thorklid Roose)before being burned .Needless to say things do not turn out well for poor Absalon as his wife betrays him setting off a chain of events that destroy his family.To say more would spoil it.

Filmed during the Nazi occupation of Denmark the theme of individuals trapped in a repressive society was a pertinent one.Carl Andersson's luminous photography is a major asset in this marvellous film as is the performance of Lisbeth Movin as the "villain" of the piece- an intoxicatingly sensual portrayal of a woman denied.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2011
Day of Wrath is an intense film in which 3 very different female characters both dominate the story and leave us with a queasy sense of moral uncertainty. First there is the persecuted but innocent old 'witch' (Anna Svierkier), a role that is more shocking today than it would have been back in 1943. Second, the central character of Anne, Absolom's wife, offers a profound sense of ethical unease for the audience. Finally, the mother-in-law, a role easily overlooked as it comes the closest to caricature ... but the way she spits 'shameless' at her son and her hatred for Anne is utterly convincing. These characters combine to forge a compromised and uncertain moral landscape which leaves the viewer with no easy options.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2012
Dark and brooding, so sensual at a subliminal level, the pace is that of a ticking metronome, will leave a lasting impression.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 April 2014
Carl T Dreyer is, along with Ozu, Welles and Renoir, THE supreme film-maker of the 20th century. This film demonstrates his stripped-down, rather austere style and yet again features a group of people undergoing severe spiritual/moral/existential upheavals; although this movie features more "action" than later films like Gertrud and Ordet.

As ever, the lighting and composition are exquisite, the camera movements subtle. Along with The Passion of Joan of Arc, one of his more accessible films if you want to know what the fuss is all about.
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