The Visit | Chicago Reader

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100 minutes · 1964

Drama
Based on a play by Friedrich Durrenmatt, this 1964 black comedy stars Ingrid Bergman as a fabulously wealthy socialite who returns to her Mittel-European hometown to exact revenge on old enemies. The townspeople have fallen on hard times and crave her largesse; she promises them millions, but only if they'll execute the man who got her pregnant when she was 17 and then rejected her (Anthony Quinn). Director Bernhard Wicki and screenwriter Ben Barzman (one of the Hollywood Ten) lace this with gibes at postwar consumer culture, as the promise of new cars, new clothes, and TV sets entices the citizens to close in on the unlucky lover. Durrenmatt resented the movie's softened ending and the casting of Bergman, but she gives a layered performance as the steely heiress, investing her with a flakiness and a gaudy eccentricity that suggest she's a little unhinged.

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