The Night Visitor ★★★½

Max von Sydow, unjustly imprisoned in an insane asylum for a murder, escapes from the prison and murders the people responsible for his imprisonment. He returns to his cell before dawn. Per Oscarsson, the actual murderer in the original killing, sees von Sydow after one of these revenge murders and reports his sighting to Police Inspector Trevor Howard. Howard investigates von Sydow at the prison, but escape from the forbidding building seems impossible. Von Sydow escapes again and commits more murders. After a particularly brutal killing, Oscarsson sees him once more. Driven to hysteria by all the killing, Oscarsson confesses the original murder to Howard while identifying von Sydow in the latest murder. Howard races to the prison in hopes of arriving before von Sydow returns. However, von Sydow gets back to his cell first, and Howard seems to be too late when an unexpected occurrence provides the proof that von Sydow had been to the site of the murders.

Set in wintry Sweden, the film is strongly acted, suspenseful, occasionally creepy and has a neat twist ending. Von Sydow, running around in his underwear, must have been very cold during much of the filming. Director Laslo Benedict had an unusual career during which he directed a handful of films, including The Singing Bandit (with Frank Sinatra), Death of a Salesman (with Fredric March), and The Wild One (with Marlon Brando), in the early 1950s before spending most of his career directing episodes of TV series. The Night Visitor, his penultimate film, makes one last entry on a singular list.