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Criterion Collection: Virgin Spring [DVD] [1960] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: German, Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BR6QIW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,439 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Three medieval herdsmen seek shelter with a man whose daughter they have raped. Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Oscar for best foreign-language film.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring, is based on the disturbing 13th century Swedish ballad, Töres döttrar i Wänge, that deals with the conflicts between paganism, christianity and the belief in what is right or wrong. It tells the tale of a wealthy father and mother, whose daughter is violently raped and killed by goat herders, unknowingly in front of her Oden worshiping half sister. After deserting their victims body, they seek shelter and food from aristocrats. However, this was the dead girls family, whom upon discovering the peasants secret, take their revenge.

The Virgin Spring is often thought to be a companion piece for The Seventh Seal and there is similarities between them, however they are also very different as well. Although The Seventh Seal is very sinister, The Virgin Spring is far more dark due to it's realistic story. There are no supernatural themes as there are in The Seventh Seal, making this film in a way, more believable.

Max Von Sydow and Birgitta Valberg are wonderful as the parents, conveying their characters emotions brilliantly. Sven Nykvist's cinematography is exceptional, beautifully shot in stunning black and white and the screenplay is excellent, with Bergman's poetic style.

An unsettling examination on morals, good and evil, this is one of the great masterpieces of Ingmar Bergman and an outstanding contribution to cinema.

Special Features: Star and Director Filmographies, The Bergman Collection Trailer, Stills Gallery and Phillip Strick Film Notes.

Video Aspect Ratio: Original Academy Ratio
Feature Length: 86 mins
Language: Swedish
Subtitles: English
Certificate: 15
Region 0
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Format: VHS Tape
This masterpiece by Bergman is one of his finest. Despite being banned in many countries outside of Sweden for years, this uncut version reveals the heinous crime of rape. Max von Sydow plays the father of Karin the virgin, who exacts his revenge in a demonaic manner. I know that many people are put off by Bergman because of his dark and disturbing portrayal of life, but this film is a must for all fans of European cinema.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Bergman was on peak form in the late 1950's, early 1960's making such classics as Summer with Monika, The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Through a Glass Darkly & The Magician. The Virgin Spring ranks along with these; I first saw this when terrestrial TV used to broadcast seasons on key directors (hey, now we have Fame Academy & Big Brother. Great. )and it struck me as a blend of the magical and the real.
I had heard of this, as Wes Craven's infamous Last House on the Left (still banned as far as I'm aware in this country)- which was a slasher/horror remake of this. The story is based on medieval legend, though Little Red Riding Hood will spring to mind.
The story is as good as any Shakespeare in terms of theme and morality- the denoument demonstrates the true nature of man- the pagan sense of revenge and the violence beneath the so-called civilised.
Max Von Sydow and Birgitta Valberg are great here, though it is Sven Nykvist's photography that stays with you after seeing the film. The Virgin Spring is a dark classic that is a treasure and a joy to watch on DVD- hardly something you can level at Dude, Where's My Car or Purely Belter.
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This film enages on so many levels; pace, character, drama you will return again and again to enjoy the work of perhaps one of the world's greatest directors working with a great team of actors and technicians.
And this DVD version is technically superior to videotape version.
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Blood-curdling and believable mediaeval drama. Revenge for a barbaric deed is achieved equally barbarically. The plot has overtones of present-day barbarism. Both von Sydow and Lindblom excel in their role-playing.
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Bergman's version of a famous Swedish folk tale manages to improve on the original and never overdoes anything. Faith is tested within an enclosed community, living on the edge of a forest, when the landowner's daughter rides off on a short pilgrimage and never comes back. She has been violated and then murdered by goatherds, and the doting parents only learn the truth when the three idiots come to them for shelter.

As always, Bergman has a genius for lighting and tableaux, maximising the emotional impact without resort to an orchestra or sentimentality from his players. Von Sydow is a giant amongst actors, brimming over with love for his silly-sweet little darling then wracked with grief for her and the violence that her death unleashes. Even moments such as the tumbling rape and the parents' search for the body have a unique theatricality that is harrowing. What might look simple and prosaic on the page comes vividly to life on the screen.

Having said that, The Virgin Spring lacks the iconic imagery that makes The Seventh Seal such an unforgettable viewing experience. This is not altogether surprising, given that this is a much smaller film with a narrower focus; Von Sydow's father is a more uncomplicated character than the Seal's Knight, but notably the Seal's mute girl is here transformed into a Kundry-like pagan half-sister, jealous of her sister's spotless coquetry but then overwhelmed with shame when she is violated by the men.

The Virgin Spring has inspired some grisly horror movies, and it comes as a relief to say that this is no gore flick. Anyone looking for an alternative way-in to the Bergman discography, other than The Seventh Seal, couldn't do better.
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