Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal

4.5 24
Director: Ingmar Bergman

Cast: Ingmar Bergman, Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot

     
 

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The sight of Death playing chess with a weary knight on a deserted beach is one of the most indelible images to emerge from the world cinema in the 1950s, and this scene from Ingmar Bergman's Det Sjunde Inseglet (aka The Seventh Seal) is still the moment most closely associated with the great Swedish filmmaker. The fact that Death was a walking, talking

Overview

The sight of Death playing chess with a weary knight on a deserted beach is one of the most indelible images to emerge from the world cinema in the 1950s, and this scene from Ingmar Bergman's Det Sjunde Inseglet (aka The Seventh Seal) is still the moment most closely associated with the great Swedish filmmaker. The fact that Death was a walking, talking character in the film also cemented Bergman's reputation as cinema's leading Gloomy Gus, but seen five decades after its initial release, The Seventh Seal reveals a tremendous compassion and flashes of humor as it contemplates the eternal balance between belief and doubt. The Seventh Seal is the sort of classic more often talked about that actually seen these days, but the Criterion Collection are doing their best to change that with new and definitive DVD release. The Seventh Seal has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the striking range of grey tones in Gunnar Fischer's cinematography is preserved with remarkable accuracy; this is one of Bergman's most visually beautiful works, and it has never looked better in a home video release than it does here. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and the fidelity is superb, making this movie almost as impressive to hear as to see. The dialogue is presented in the original Swedish as well as in an alternate dubbed English soundtrack; optional English subtitles are also on board. A full compliment of relevant bonus materials have been included, among them a commentary track by film scholar Peter Cowie and an illustrated postscript on the film and its impact; an introduction featuring Ingmar Bergman that was created for a Swedish television broadcast of the film in 2003; a tribute to Bergman from noted fan Woody Allen that was produced for Turner Classic Movies in 1989 and an audio recording of an interview with leading man and frequent Bergman collaborator Max von Sydow. A second disc includes Marie Nyrerod's acclaimed documentary Bergman Island, which features extensive interviews with the filmmaker as he discusses his life and work, as well as Bergman 101, an essay by Peter Cowie on the essentials of the great director's work illustrated with still and clips from his films. (Bergman's Island has also been released as a stand-alone disc by Criterion.) And the accompanying booklet features an appreciation of The Seventh Seal by Gary Giddins as well as some superb photos from the picture. Short of the Blu-Ray edition of The Seventh Seal released simultaneously by Criterion, there is no better way to see this film in your home theater, and the quality and care that's gone into this release is to be commended by anyone who loves classic cinema.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
For filmgoers of a certain age (baby boomers who attended college between the late '50s and late '60s), The Seventh Seal was their first exposure to the films of Ingmar Bergman. And indeed, the film has been referenced by other directors, from Woody Allen to Barry Levinson, as well as becoming the subject of a popular parody short, Dove. Although other filmmakers, such as Jean Cocteau in Orpheus, had dealt with similar concerns, Bergman made them more accessible. The Seventh Seal is a skillful blend of realistic drama (the disillusioned knight returning from the Crusades in a land wracked by plague and madness) and the allegorical (most famously, the chess game and further encounters with a black-robed figure representing Death). The historical setting provides a convenient vehicle for Bergman to deal with issues of death and spirituality that are ultimately timeless. The film also gave major exposure to actors Max von Sydow and Bibi Andersson, who both had small roles in Bergman's Wild Strawberries.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/16/2009
UPC:
0715515044516
Original Release:
1957
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:37:00
Sales rank:
463

Special Features

Introduction by Ingmar Bergman, Recorded in 2003; ; Audio Commentary by Bergman expert Peter Cowie, with a New Afterword; Archival Audio Interview with Max von Sydow; A 1989 Tribute to Bergman by Filmmaker Woody Allen; Theatrical Trailer; Optional English-Dubbed soundtrack

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Max von Sydow The Knight, Antonius Block
Gunnar Björnstrand Jons
Bengt Ekerot Death
Nils Poppe Jof
Bibi Andersson Mia
Åke Fridell Blacksmith Plog
Inga Gill Lisa
Inga Landgre Block's Wife
Maud Hansson The Witch, Tyan
Gunnel Lindblom The Girl
Bertil Anderberg Raval
Anders Ek The Monk
Gunnar Olsson Church Painter
Erik Strandmark Jonas Skat
Benkt-Ake Benktsson The landlord
Tor Borong Farmer at inn
Gudrun Brost Woman at inn
Ulf Johansson Knight leader
Lars Lind Young Monk

Technical Credits
Ingmar Bergman Director,Screenwriter
Evald Andersson Special Effects
Sixten Ehrling Musical Direction/Supervision
Allan Ekelund Producer
Else Fischer Choreography
Gunnar Fischer Cinematographer
Manne Lindholm Costumes/Costume Designer
P.A. Lundgren Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Carl M. Lundh Makeup
Nila Nittle Makeup
Erik Nordgren Score Composer
Lennart Wallen Editor

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Seventh Seal: The Film
1. Logos/Opening Credits [1:31]
2. On the Beach [7:02]
3. Jof's Vision [7:54]
4. At The Church [11:07]
5. The Deserted Village [5:01]
6. The Seduction Of Skat [4:05]
7. The Procession Of Flagellants [6:28]
8. Torture At the Tavern [5:45]
9. Strawberries and Milk at Dusk [9:48]
10. 'Love Is the Blackfest of All Plagues" [3:46]
11. "The Deadest Actor I've Ever Seen" [7:31]
12. The Burning of the Witch [8:50]
13. "Mate at the Next Move" [7:21]
14. The Last Supper [7:59]
15. The Dance of Death [3:18]
1. Color Bars [:00]
1. Famous Names of Swedish Cinema [1:31]
2. Establishing The Middle Ages [7:02]
3. The Film's Holy Family [7:54]
4. Imaginative Lighting, Witty Repartee [11:07]
5. Gloom and Doom [5:01]
6. The Gallery of Personalities [4:05]
7. Bergman's Religious Upbringing [6:28]
8. The Vilification Of Actors [5:45]
9. Communion Interlude [9:48]
10. The Most Appealing Character [3:46]
11. Bergman And Comedy [7:31]
12. Bergman "The Sorcerer" [8:50]
13. Revenge on the Church [7:21]
14. The $150,000 Budget [7:59]
15. The Procession's Missing Characters [3:18]
1. Color Bars [:00]
Disc #2 -- Seventh Seal
1. The Silence [5:40]
2. Childhood [14:30]
3. The Seventh Seal [11:20]
4. Strawberries/Through A Glass Darkly [8:00]
5. Faro/Persona [7:01]
6. Family/Saraband [3:46]
7. Scenes From a Marriage [5:35]
8. Creativity [3:45]
9. The Theater And Munichi [5:59]
10. Music [6:38]
11. Death And Demons [11:03]

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The Seventh Seal 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Watch for symbolism in Bergman's movies. The knight's page is his alter ego. Other obvious symbols are the young family (Holy Family). Definitely a thinking persons movie. Game of chess Who is really winner and loser. Don't need to know Bible well but Seventh Seal is in book of Revelation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Seventh Seal is simply one of the most brilliants films ever made. It's amazing to see Bergman's personal reflections on life, death, and God in an entertaining way. The Seventh Seal is entertaining philosophy.
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DavidWhite More than 1 year ago
A wonderful performance by Max Von Sydow and an excellent meditation on mortality.
Filmninja More than 1 year ago
Look up any list of the greatest films ever made and you will see this title near the top. Obviously a must own Blu Ray for film lovers.
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