A historical view of witchcraft in seven parts and a variety of styles. First, there is a slide-show alternating inter-titles with drawings and paintings to illustrate the behavior of pagan... See full summary »
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Gabriel de Gravone
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A historical view of witchcraft in seven parts and a variety of styles. First, there is a slide-show alternating inter-titles with drawings and paintings to illustrate the behavior of pagan cultures in the Middle Ages regarding their vision of demons and witches. Then there is a dramatization of the situation of the witches in the Middle Ages, witchcraft and witch-hunts. Finally the film compares the behavior of hysteria of contemporary (1921) women with the behavior of the witches in the Middle Ages, concluding that they are very similar. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Swedish film censors required numerous cuts in the film, before authorizing its release. Among the censored scenes were the closeup of the finger being removed from the hanged man's hand, the trampling of the cross in the witch's sabbath scene, the shot of the oozing infant held over a cooking pot, a closeup of a woman's face while she is on a torture rack, closeups of several instruments of torture being employed, and a shot of a demon embracing a nude woman (all these shots have since been restored to the film). See more »
The skeletal horse-like creature wandering around during the sabbath is clearly being moved about by a couple of stage hands, hidden under the blanket that covers it's "body". The feet of the crew member at the front of the monster are visible in one shot. See more »
Poor little hysterical witch! In the middle ages you were in conflict with the church. Now it is with the law.
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I found this 1922 "documentary" to be amazing in it's inovative and creative portrayal of witchcraft in the middle ages. Scenes of nudity and torture made this film very controversial in 1922 and caused it to be banned as well as greatly edited in later versions. Criterion has done a great job of preserving the film as it was intended to be seen with censored footage restored, an excellent tinted print, a corrected "projection" speed, a new score that recreates the music played at the original Danish premiere, and some interesting extras. The 1968 William Burroughs narrarated version is also included here and it's pretty ridiculous. The jazz soundtrack is just so very wrong. But still, it's interesting to see, kind of like the "Love Conquers All" version of Brazil. I think that anyone who is interested in film and film history will find this dvd facinating.
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