Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Leaves from Satan's Book (1919)

A well directed and wrote silent film trying to show the atrocities caused by Satan but have to wonder about the inclusion of the French Revolution. I know that this "Glorious Revolution" caused many deaths and is still held in high regards from the Left, but I do wonder about their inclusion in this film.

It was also unusual that Satan had bouts of remorse and that it was God that directed him to go out and create evil. Especially the scene where Satan feels guilty for his part in killing the Son of God. But God just sends him out to cause more pain to humans. He is even given an incentive with 1000 years less of torture for every man he helps and 100 years more for every man he destroys.
The Danish Leaves From Satan's Book (Blad af Satans Bog) was the "breakthrough" picture for filmmaker Carl Thedor Dreyer, who was elevated from a local talent to a director of international renown. The content of the film is implicit in the title: we are witness to the power of Evil through the ages, linked together by images of turning pages. In its multi-storied construction, the film is obviously beholden to D.W. Griffith's Intolerance (1916). Some of the vignettes, especially the Spanish Inquisition scenes, are both beautiful and repulsive; we marvel at Dreyer's brilliant visual sense, even as we have the impulse to avert our eyes. Though a worldwide success, Leaves From Satan's Book cost too much to suit the tastes of the parsimonious Danish film industry, compelling Dreyer to work in other countries throughout most of the silent era. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 121 mins
Leaves from Satan's Book (1919)

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