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Dante's Inferno (1911)

L'Inferno (original title)
Loosely adapted from Dante's Divine Comedy and inspired by the illustrations of Gustav Doré the original silent film has been restored and has a new score by Tangerine Dream.

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(poem)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Salvatore Papa ...
Arturo Pirovano ...
Giuseppe de Liguoro ...
Pier Delle Vigne ...
Augusto Milla ...
Attilio Motta
Emilise Beretta
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Storyline

The poet Dante is lost in a dark and gloomy wood. At the summit of a mountain he sees the light of salvation. He endeavors to ascend to it, but his way is barred by three wild beasts, symbolizing Avarice, Pride and Lust. Beatrice sees his predicament and descends from Paradise into Limbo, where she asks the poet Virgil to rescue and guide Dante. Virgil knows another way to go, but this leads straight through the entire Inferno, before it continues towards Paradise. Virgil leads Dante to the portals of Inferno. Charon ferries them over the river Acheron, and then they start their journey downwards through the different circles of Inferno. Dante meets all kind of sinners and sees the never-ending punishments they have to undergo. The various punishments are adjusted to the different transgressions. Among the sinners Dante recognizes many persons he has met in Florence, when they were still alive. They tell him their sad stories and why they have ended here. At last Dante and Virgil ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

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Release Date:

July 1911 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dante's Inferno  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the first feature film to be shown in its entirety, in one screening, in the USA. Prior to this it was thought audiences wouldn't be prepared to sit for over an hour to watch a feature - films such as Les Misérables (1909) and The Life of Moses (1909) were shown in episodic parts over the course of a month or two. See more »

Goofs

The penultimate scene: as Virgil leads Dante through the subterranean passage, he suffers an uncharacteristic moment of clumsiness (he trips, stumbles, and has to pull his own toga out from under his foot). See more »

Connections

Featured in Dante's Inferno (1924) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The world's first (non-Aussie) feature film still packs a punch
9 June 2005 | by (Launceston, Australia) – See all my reviews

When did this film first make its appearance in America? The notes in the DVD say that the film was not widely released until after the First World War, but I've found the following quote in "The Warner Bros. Story" by Clive Hirschhorn, telling what the Warner brothers did after Edison's infamous Trust had "persuaded" them to sell their film exchange business, which would have been in 1911 or 1912, "It was only a matter of months, however, before Sam Warner returned from a trip to New York having bought the rights for a five-reeler called Dante's Inferno based on the famous poem. Sam's idea was to take the film on the road, together with a narrator, who, while the movie unspooled, would read extracts from the original poem. The idea worked. The film opened in Hartford, Connecticut, and, according to Jack Warner, you could hear the cash registers ringing all the way to Ohio. The tour netted them $1,500 which Sam and Jack blew on a crap game in New York." The 2004 DVD release actually follows in Sam's footsteps by having some of the words sung, with music by Tangerine Dream. The music creates a dreamlike atmosphere which helps to overcome the creaky aspects of the film. I feel that an over-the-top, heavily dramatic orchestral soundtrack wouldn't work, as the creakiness would undermine the music. The credits at the start and end of the film were in keeping with those I've seen on other silent movie DVD's, except that they put some fuzzy stills behind them, so I found myself wondering if the entire movie was going to be that indistinct. The film turned out to be in pretty good condition overall, but it did vary a bit, as you'd expect in a film this old. This very important movie is easily worthwhile for any fan of silent film, and it is interesting enough to show to others as well, with the modern soundtrack providing a cushion of familiarity for those who aren't used to silent film. Highly recommended!


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