Day Of Wrath (1943)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

Original title:  Vredens Dag

Denmark, 1943.  Screenplay by Carl Theodor Dreyer, , , , based on the play Anne Pedersdotter by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Carl Theodor Dreyer, .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , . Film Editing by , .

Fascinating pre-cursor to The Crucible features Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer examining religious fanaticism. The subject is a young woman () recently married to a much older widower in 19th-century Denmark. When her husband’s handsome young son () comes home from his studies to live with his family, our heroine finds herself irresistibly attracted to him, and it is not long before they consummate their passion for one another. The fact of their affair is obvious to no one but the husband’s prying old mother, who eventually decides to cast an accusation of witchcraft against her household rival to appease her jealousy. Though it takes its time meticulously combing over every detail with no rush in its pacing and no overtly dramatic moments, the film builds steadily to a gripping climax and a fantastic, powerful ending. The acting is superb, and Dreyer’s assured direction unforgettable.  Movin and Rye would later appear as adulterous lovers in the wonderful 1987 classic Babette’s Feast.

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