The Night Visitor (1971) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: A man named Salem escapes from an insane asylum where he was confined for an axe-murder. Falsely convicted under a plea of "guilty due to insanity", he does not plan to let his sister and her husband forget that they were responsible for the murder of a farmhand and for his cruel imprisonment in… Runtime: 106 min Release Date: 10 Feb 1971
Looks like a cheesy slasher movie, but is actually a brilliant thriller (by cine-11)
I wasn't expecting much when I saw this movie some years ago, but was I pleasantly surprised. This is a highly underrated suspense movie that is one of my favorites. It grabs you from the very opening "why is that man jogging through the snowy countryside in his underwear?" and delivers a clever plot that deals with a series of murders with a Columboesque twist - you're shown who's doing them at the beginning, yet you're also shown that it's physically impossible for him to be committing them. The story then involves why he's doing them, the cat and mouse <more>
interaction between him and the police inspector investigating the cases, and the amazing way he accomplishes the seemingly impossible. Does he get away with it? You'll have to see for yourself. This one won't disappoint mystery fans.
Change the films title to welcome visitor its that good. (by NEIL-213)
This film grabs you from start to finish.The clever way that Max Von Sydow,s character Salem executes his plan is engrossing.All the acting in this film is brilliant,but special credit has to go to Trevor Howard,s performance playing an ageing world weary inspector perfectly.It says a lot for the power of this film that although i have not been able to see it for over 10 years due to no dvd or video being available in the UK, it would still be in my top 20 movies ever.The plot was so good that i thought the ending would have to let it down,but instead turns out to be one of the best bits.A <more>
forgotten masterpiece that far too few people have seen if the number of people that have voted for it is anything to go by.
Max Von Sydow brilliantly portrays Salem, a patient at an insane asylum. The chilling cinematography of some guy in his underwear running around in the chilling snow fields makes this thriller even more chilling. But wait till you hear the chilling score by Henry Mancini. He wisely uses de-tuned piano notes that set a perfect mood.
Excellent lost 70's chiller - HIGHLY RCOMMENDED (by GarethG)
I remember catching 'The Night Visitor' on UK late night TV in the late 70's. At that time I'd not heard of it but was hooked from the outset. Many of the haunting images stayed with me and recently I got all nostalgic and started searching for either video or DVD releases of several lost gems from the early 70's, amongst them 'And Soon The Darkness', 'I Start Counting' and of course 'The Night Visitor'. Success!!! as all titles were available on DVD some are deleted from obscure labels but all frequently pop up on Ebay for reasonable amounts . <more>
Strangely, having caught up with several long forgotten film or TV shows from my childhood, most have been disappointing, however 'The Night Visitor' retains it's menacing, almost surreal air and Max Von Sydow carries the film with great support from Trevor Howard who seems to be setting the tone for his later appearance in 1973's 'The Offence' and I even recalled Arthur Hewlett as the prison guard with the gnome-like features. All in all a MUST for any Von Sydow fan and any lover of quirky psychological thrillers, low on budget but high on plot and intrigue.
Seen on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater in 1978 (by kevinolzak)
Watching Bill "Chilly Billy" Cardille and his Saturday night double features on WIIC-TV now WPXI channel 11 was a great treasure trove of terror titles for the city of Pittsburgh PA. Cardille and his show became such a phenomenon that he was asked to appear in a local 1967 production done by commercial filmmakers that enjoyed the movies. Originally titled "Night of Anubis," it had a title change to "Night of the Flesh Eaters," but was finally issued in 1968 as "Night of the Living Dead" the rest is history . I was too young to view anything during <more>
the 60s, but remained loyal to CT right up to the end in 1984. It was NBC's Saturday Night Live that pushed the show back from 11:30PM to 1:00AM, reducing the double feature to a single, but one of the very last twin bills Oct 7 1978 toplined 1970's "The Night Visitor" followed by 1968's "Brides of Blood" retitled for television "The Island of Living Horror" . My father was particularly taken with this film, and once I found it on video in 1988, we have enjoyed it ever since. It aired twice more on CT June 28 1980 and July 4 1981 , and was a sterling example of the delightful surprises in store week to week, at that time before cable and video, when just about anything could turn up on local stations, and often did. Local horror hosts are mostly a thing of the past, but the films are still available, even the most obscure titles can be found someplace. "The Night Visitor" is quite obscure, but those of us who saw it in Pittsburgh never forgot the experience. How can a man committed to an asylum escape to wreak revenge on those who did him wrong, then actually return to his cell to provide the perfect alibi? A willing suspension of disbelief is a small price to pay for an ingeniously crafted gem, produced in Denmark by actor Mel Ferrer, with music by Henry Mancini! The 1971 review of this film in Cinefantastique posed what the movie might have been like with a different cast- Christopher Lee as Salem he actually signed for the part before the budget was increased , Peter Cushing as the Inspector, Barbara Steele as the doctor's wife, and Klaus Kinski as the crazed Doctor, stating "why, it almost sounds like a horror classic!" It was indeed that good, and Pittsburghers were often lucky to get a head start on the reputations of cult movies that escaped notice in other parts of the country.
In 1968, Swedish director Ingmar Bergman released what might be arguably deemed his closest attempt to create an outright horror film, "Hour of the Wolf," starring Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman. The three would go on to work together several more times in the coming years, and although the following pictures that they made together such as "Shame" and "The Passion of Anna" WERE fairly emotionally devastating, none could be termed outright horror. Viewers desirous to see Max and Liv together in another film that is undisputably in the horror domain, however, may <more>
be confidently steered to a picture that they made together in the early '70s, entitled "The Night Visitor." Released in February '71, this was a Swedish production its Swedish title is "Papegojan" , filmed in English by Hungarian director Laslo Benedek of "The Wild One" fame and co-starring British and Scottish actors in the supporting roles. Very much a class production it was produced by the famed actor Mel Ferrer, who had also produced the great horror outing "Wait Until Dark" four years earlier, starring his wife, Audrey Hepburn, and features still another impressive score by the great Henry Mancini , the film is a remarkably suspenseful, ingenious and only mildly bloody affair, more clever than scary, perhaps, but still a fascinating exercise in terror. The film manages to impress from its very first shot, in which we see a man named Salem fleeing from a grim and imposing castle fortress along the snowy shores of a desolate seacoast. The viewer will immediately wonder just where this desolate-looking terrian, that looks for all the world like Lapland, perhaps, is situated; as it turns out, the film was shot in Denmark and Sweden. As we later learn, this man, dressed only in underwear and a heavy pair of boots, is fleeing through the wintry countryside after escaping from a lunatic asylum, where he had been confined for the previous two years after being convicted of the axe murder of one of his farmhands. Salem hightails it directly to his former cottage, where resides his two sisters one of them, Ester Jenks, is played by Liv and his brother-in-law, Dr. Anton Jenks Per Oscarsson . Salem manages to steal a few of the doctor's dress ties and several ampoules of morphine, and with them begins to take vengeance on all the people he deems responsible for his unfair conviction and subsequent confinement. He contrives to make Dr. Jenks look like the one responsible for these new murders, and even though Anton sees Salem in the house at one point and tells the local police inspector on the case the great English actor Trevor Howard that Salem has escaped, he is not believed. Salem, it seems, upon investigation, is shown by the asylum director Andrew Keir to be residing comfortably in his bed in the institution...an escape-proof pile situated hundreds of feet above the rocky shore. As the new murders continue, however, each one of them made to look like the work of the befuddled doctor, the inspector is forced to wonder: Could Salem possibly be escaping to do these deeds, only to return to his cell afterward? Was he indeed guilty of the original crime that put him there? And just how would the man be able to get out of his cell to begin with? Although "The Night Visitor" does feature the formidable talents of both von Sydow and Ullman once again, to be perfectly honest, the two share only one scene together, but what a doozy it is! For the most part, the film's main selling points are its truly ingenious escape sequences by Salem, during which von Sydow, 41 years old at the time, was compelled to perform any number of physical feats, such as rope and tree climbing, and swinging from ropes at impressive heights. It is a wonderfully and credibly physical performance from von Sydow, who easily steals the film with his derring-do and steely, calculating resolve. If, as has been reported, the role of Salem was originally offered to English actor Christopher Lee, one might feel gratified at the way things turned out here; great as Lee was at physically imposing performances, I don't think that even he could have matched von Sydow's strength and determination in this role...and I doubt that Lee would have relished the prospect of performing extended sequences running around in the frigid cold in his underwear! The viewer is not certain whether or not Salem should be sympathized with or not during the film; we know that he is performing ghastly murders--of his sisters, his old lawyer Rupert Davies , his former girlfriend--but don't know whether or not he is doing this because he was unjustly convicted of an old crime or not. So yes, the film does keep us guessing, while it impresses us with its extremely clever story line. And if the film's final twist, in the last moments, comes off as a bit contrived and unbelievable, well, it's all in good fun, and is a very nice way to wrap things up. Less artful, perhaps, than "Hour of the Wolf," although infinitely easier to follow, "The Night Visitor" is perfect fare for the jaded horror fan who is eager to see something different and rewarding. Personally, I just loved it...final shot and all....
a killer with a rock-solid alibi; a clever, suspenseful, artfully-done horror movie (by FieCrier)
A man is running away from a large brick building surrounded by a high wall. He's running across rocks and snow in his underwear and boots. He sneaks into a farmhouse and steals some odd items, and sneaks into another house where he kills a woman. It's not the last person he'll kill either; he's trying to frame someone, but why - and how is he getting away from the place that establishes his alibi?This is a very good movie. As a horror movie, it doesn't have a very high body count, or much gore, and there's no on screen violence - it cuts away from that. Some horror <more>
movies benefit from that, some don't; this one doesn't need it. The locations: isolated locations surrounded by snowy fields are very nice to look at. Acting is very good, as is the musical score by Mancini.Definitely deserves to be better-known. I'm surprised some critics didn't like it. Some didn't like that the movie gives some things away early on that could have been withheld. I don't agree; not every movie that has secrets needs to save them for a big reveal at the end. Others felt that the characters' motivations weren't established. I can only suppose they weren't listening to the dialog, because that was fully discussed.
Arty and chilling little seen Euro horror gem (by Bloodwank)
Going straight in at the deep end, The Night Visitor begins with a lone man heading silent over a snowy landscape to arrive at a farmhouse. Entering through a window, this tale of a man called Salem and his dark deeds begins. See, Salem has been wrongfully imprisoned for a couple of years and now has come the time for a spot of vengeance. Directed by Laszlo Benedek of teen rebellion classic The Wild One, The Night Visitor is a highly unusual item, filled with warped intensity. Snowy fields and forlorn buildings, treachery bubbling beneath almost every character, the film is in a state of <more>
constant unease, and by leaping straight into events and offering explanations in erratic bursts the viewer is kept mostly just outside of the loop, hooked but never quite certain of things. The film has a madness to it and everyone is either afflicted or drawn into the fray, only an investigating policeman remains pretty much sane. Apart from the interest of Salem's inscrutably macabre deeds, his very presence is a bad influence on other characters, stirring their dark secrets and quiet unease to storming froth, creating madness by a near supernatural force of proximity. As played by Max von Sydow Salem is determined and malign, but mostly calm, a contrast to the jitters of everybody else. Per Oscarsson's character of a doctor falls most notably prey to the maddening situations, high strung and on the verge of collapse, while Liv Ullmann as his wife is impressive too, parlaying her own enervation into fearful suspicion and desperate behaviour. Trevor Howard as the policeman is fine too as a sobering presence, he looks like he can play this sort of role in his sleep and has just the right authority and calm presence. Apart from psychological turmoil, the film offers a neat selection of interesting images, some evocative dialogue and great fun in Salem's deeds, with the centrepiece display of his ingenuity a suspenseful, if improbable delight. The film does tend to run on contrivances which will likely irk some, there are plot holes, improbabilities and the odd short lull in pacing. Its also not one for people expecting tits 'n gore and all that jazz, there's only a tiny bit of blood and things are pretty restrained in action terms. There are a few great chilling moments though and Salem has become one of my favourite villains, there's something about his intelligence that comes across as a faint ancestor of the likes of Lecter. Despite its cast, this isn't some Bergman-esquire meditation either, arty it certainly is, but not so deep. Thriller geeks will likely be put off as well, tug hard at the plot and it kinda unravels. None of the above are the best way to approach the film though, it comes out best as a kind of chilling tale in an unreal realm, where things happen by disturbed inevitability rather than logic. An inspired head-swirling oddity then and a film I heartily recommend, though it is one of niche appeal.
Max von Sydow plays Salem, wrongly convicted of a murder and sent to stay in an asylum for the criminally insane. As the movie opens, he has successfully pulled off an escape, and he wreaks vengeance upon his hapless family. However, because he is able to actually return to his cell in time, suspicion falls upon his brother in law, Anton Per Oscarsson , instead. An inspector played by the always solid Trevor Howard must solve these baffling crimes.Slasher fans might hear of this one and get their hopes up, due to the violence suggested in certain scenes, but we never see any actual killings. <more>
This is more of a straightforward thriller. It overcomes a rather trite story set up to deliver an incredibly engaging yarn; it's what director Laslo Benedek "The Wild One" and company do with the material that matters. It's filmed on location in Denmark and Sweden, in some mightily forbidding looking country; you can practically feel the cold while you watch. The atmosphere is stark and impressive, helped all the more by an unusual but amazing Henry Mancini score. It's deliberately paced but fascinating, especially when Benedek and screenwriter Guy Elmes who works from Samuel Roecas' original story lay out for us the tons of preparations that Salem has to go through in order to pull off each escape from and return to the asylum.Von Sydow is typically excellent, as is Liv Ullmann as his sister, Oscarsson as the volatile, panicky Anton, Rupert Davies as a savvy but sickly lawyer, Andrew Keir as the asylums' head doctor, and Arthur Hewlett as the genial old Pop. Watching this, it's easy to root for Von Sydow, especially during the finale where he must "beat the clock", and the tension is undeniable. This intoxicating film sure does keep you on your toes at times. And "The Night Visitor" does end on an irresistible, rather humorous note.It could definitely stand to be better known.Eight out of 10.