The Night Visitor (1971)

Article 2724 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-21-2008
Posting Date: 1-27-2009
Directed by Laslo Benedek
Featuring Max von Sydow, Trevor Howard, Liv Ullmann
Country: USA/Sweden

A lunatic devises a way to escape out of and return to an asylum with the intention of taking revenge on those that put him there.

Though the elements are there, this is really more of a crime thriller than a horror movie; the lunatic may not really be a lunatic, and the movie doesn’t so much milk the tension of what he’s going to do as it make us wonder how he’s doing it; we know he’s able to get out of the asylum, but the question is how he does it. Actually, people may expect too much from this movie, given its impressive cast, many of which were Ingmar Bergman regulars. The script is a little too convenient at times (everyone seems to be just where they need to be for the frame-up that is being planned to work), but its quite entertaining, and the scenes involving the escape from the asylum are great fun. Max von Sydow is wonderful as Salem, the lunatic bent on revenge, and the other principals (Liv Ullmann, Trevor Howard and Per Oscarsson) are also very good. We also have Andrew Keir on hand as the head of the asylum, and Arthur Hewlett is memorable as a chess-playing prison guard. The movie also has a great ending as well. Recommended.



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