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Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)

Häxan (original title)
Not Rated | | Documentary, Fantasy, Horror | 27 May 1929 (USA)
Fictionalized documentary showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maren Pedersen ...
Heksen / The Witch
Clara Pontoppidan ...
Nonne / Nun
Elith Pio ...
Heksedommer / Witch Judge (The Young Monk)
Oscar Stribolt ...
Graabroder / Doctor (The Fat Monk)
Tora Teje ...
En hysterisk kvinde / Modern Hysteric (The Kelptomaniac)
John Andersen ...
Chief Inquisitor (as Johs Andersen)
Benjamin Christensen ...
Poul Reumert ...
Juveler / Jeweler
Karen Winther ...
Anna
Kate Fabian ...
Gammel jomfru / Old Maid
Else Vermehren ...
Nonne / Nun
Astrid Holm ...
Anna
Johannes Andersen ...
Heksedommer / Witch Judge
Gerda Madsen ...
Nonne / Nun
Aage Hertel ...
Heksedommer / Witch Judge
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Storyline

Part history lesson followed by re-enactments with actors, this film takes depicts the history of witchcraft from its earliest days through to the present day (in this case,1922 or thereabouts). The result is a documentary-like film that must be among the first to use re-enactments as a visual and narrative tool. From pagan worship to satanic rites to hysteria, the film takes you on a journey through the ages with highly effective visual sequences. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Benjamin Christensens stora film.


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

27 May 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

SEK 2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1968 re-release) | (DVD) | (original)

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Maria, the weaver (one of the persecuted witches) was played by Maren Pedersen, whom Christensen allegedly discovered while she was selling flowers on a street corner. Pedersen claimed that she was the first Red Cross nurse in Denmark. During the shoot, Pedersen reportedly turned to Christensen and said, "The Devil is real. I have seen him sitting at my bedside." Christensen was so struck by this confession of modern demonic activity (or at least the belief in modern demonic activity) that he incorporated this anecdote into the film itself. See more »

Goofs

The monk drains his wine glass. When he chases the maid round the table in the next shot it is half full. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: Poor little hysterical witch! In the middle ages you were in conflict with the church. Now it is with the law.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director Benjamin Christensen personally thanks his cinematographer and art director through the opening titles. See more »

Connections

Featured in Top 10 Lost Horror Films (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Criterion uncovers a gem
26 June 2003 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

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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