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J. Searle Dawley
A poor student rescues a beautiful countess and soon becomes obsessed with her. A sorcerer makes a deal with the young man to give him fabulous wealth and anything he wants, if he will sign his name to a contract. The student hurriedly signs the contract, but doesn't know what he's in for. Written by
early silent horror film entertains, but was improved upon by its (also silent) remake
I watched Alpha's DVD of this, which was only about forty-one minutes long. I don't know if it was missing scenes, or run at a faster speed, or what, to account for the difference from the running time IMDb has. As with Alpha's DVD of the remake, I didn't particularly care for the musical score they'd added. I think it's possible they also missed some of the intertitles; one of the other users mentions something Balduin says after his reflection is taken that wasn't in the copy I viewed.
A renowned fencer asks a man named Scapinelli to procure him a winning lottery ticket, or a woman with a large dowry. The opening credits indicate Scapinelli is a sorcerer; he isn't used much in this film, and we don't know really anything about him when we first meet him, or what relationship Balduin has with him. In the remake, Balduin doesn't ask for those things, just wishes for a rich woman (not expecting the wish to come true), and Scapinelli promises to deliver.
A rich woman who is riding horses with her fiancé (also her first cousin) falls off her horse into a body of water, and Balduin saves her. In the remake, it's clear that Scapinelli guides her horse to Balduin and then causes the horse to act wildly, until Balduin scoops her off it. Here, it's unclear that Scapinelli had anything to do with it.
There are many scenes here that are reproduced in the sequel. Possibly even some of the same camera shots are copied.
The ending is not as powerful as the ending of the sequel. Still, this was interesting to watch and at the price of Alpha's DVDs, a bargain. Perhaps a better edition will come out sometime in the future.
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