Indescribably beautiful black & white cinematography; excellent eerie story; acting so amazing that the leads seem almost like gloomy doomed deities beset by a supporting cast of actual demons. Who could ask for more?
Hour of the Wolf is simply one of the finest cinematic weird tales ever told. Max von Sydow plays Johan; his wife is played by Liv Ulman.
She watches her husband consumed by personal demons, until she herself begins to perceive them, a veritable clan of supernatural beings whom she & Johan attempt to interact with as normal human beings of eccentric stripe. But normal they simply are not.
Bergman's earlier The Magician (Ansiktet, 1958) also stars Max von Sydow in the title role. He travels about 19th Century Sweden with his medicine show in company of a witch-hag (Naima Wifstrand), a cross-dressing wife (Ingrid Thulin), & a couple others in the troupe, selling fake love potions, doing bad magic tricks, & hypnotizing people so they can experience fear.
A nice oddball film, witty & amusing. Although nothing from Bergman is ever quite be entirely a comedy, The Magician comes closest to being so. It's macabre satire on charlatanry, with intense b/w cinematography enhancing the moodiness.
There's enough strangeness to work as a really classy horror film rather than "just" a mysterious period drama from a world-class director.
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