Tuesday, July 28, 2015

THE NIGHT VISITOR (1971)

THE NIGHT VISITOR opens with a nighttime shot of a old frozen seaside fort(?) that's now being used as a insane asylum.  Suddenly a figure comes running across the rocky, snow covered coast.  He's wearing nothing but his underwear and a pair of boots.  It's Max von Sydow and he looks totally miserable.  Half-frozen and bluer than Papa Smurf's penis he scampers through the woods and to an isolated farmhouse.  He breaks in and spies on the residents...then it's time for a little murder and a return trip to the insane asylum wear he breaks back in.  What could the point of all this be?

The first act of THE NIGHT VISITOR was great, filled with mystery and tension, but then you get into the police investigation part (lead by Trevor Howard) and it all falls apart.  The cops have two suspects in the murders: Max and a local doctor (played by Per Oscarsson).  All they have to do is hide a guard outside of Max's cell door and another outside the doctor's house and the case would be solved, but no they just let the murders continue and only react afterwards.

They story might've had holes all through it, but the cast was a real treat.  I've long considered Liv Ullmann to be one of my absolute favorite actresses and Max von Sydow to be one of my absolute favorite actors, so them plus Trevor Howard and Per Oscarsson...well I was about as happy as a movie lover could be, even with the overly complicated story.