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Sweden 1944 15+ 101min.
  • Drama

Only two other Swedish talkies have come to Britain and the second of these came nine years ago, so opportunities for comparison have been all too slender. Typical or not, it is a refreshing film to see, even though the story it tells is far from refreshing. It relates the decline and fall of a sadistic (a genuinely sadistic) schoolmaster. The refreshing quality is in its pictorial sense, in its sensitive and not too elaborate style of direction. The director, Alf Sjöberg, is plainly a true craftsman, though the story which he directs depends less, perhaps, on any Strindbergian profundity of its own than on the irrelevant fact that this school master looks so like that other one-time schoolmaster, Heinrich Himmler.

The Swedish film idiom is evidently closer to the German than to any other; yet, one imagines, "Torment" would be equally appreciated by a British audience.

Alf Sjöberg Alf Kjellin, Stig Järrel, Mai Zetterling, Olof Winnerstrand, Gösta Cederlund, Stig Ohlin, Jan Molander
Ingmar Bergman
Martin Bodin
Hilding Rosenberg
Oscar Rosander