IMDb > Häxan (1922)
Häxan
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Häxan (1922) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.7/10   8,879 votes »
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Release Date:
27 May 1929 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
Benjamin Christensens stora film.
Plot:
Fictionalized documentary showing the evolution of witchcraft, from its pagan roots to its confusion with hysteria in modern Europe. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Out of all the silent films I've seen, this is probably the most bizarre both visually and conceptually See more (74 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
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 ... Djævlen / The Devil
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
Ib Schønberg ... Heksedommer / Witch Judge
Emmy Schønfeld ... Marie, the Seamstress (as Emmy Schönfeld)
Frederik Christensen ... Borger / Citizen (as Frederick Christensen)
Ella La Cour ... Troldkvinde / Magician (as Ella la Cour)
Elisabeth Christensen ... En ældre bondekone / Older Farm Lady (as Elizabeth Christensen)

Henry Seemann ... Borger / Citizen
Alice O'Fredericks ... Nonne / Nun
Knud Rassow ... Anatomen

William S. Burroughs ... Narrator (1968 re-release) (voice) (as William Burroughs)
Ellen Rassow ... En tjenestepige / Maid
Holst Jørgensen ... Ole Kighul
H.C. Nielsen ... Juveler assistent / Jeweler's Assistant
Albrecht Schmidt ... Nervelæge / Neurologist
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Karina Bell ... Nun (uncredited)
Karen Caspersen ... Unidentified (uncredited)
Holger Pedersen ... Unidentified (uncredited)

Directed by
Benjamin Christensen 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Benjamin Christensen 

Original Music by
Matti Bye (restored version: 2006)
Launy Grøndahl 
Daniel Humair (1968)
Barði Jóhannsson (new score 2006) (as Bardi Johannsson)
Emil Reesen (1941)
Ludwig van Beethoven (original score 1922) (as Ludwig von Beethoven)
Art Zoyd (1997)
 
Cinematography by
Johan Ankerstjerne 
 
Film Editing by
Edla Hansen 
 
Art Direction by
Richard Louw 
 
Set Decoration by
Richard Louw 
 
Art Department
L. Mathiesen .... art department assistant
Helge Norél .... art department assistant
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Rudolf Frederiksen .... assistant camera
 
Music Department
Daniel Humair .... musician: percussion (1968 re-release)
Bernard Lubat .... musician: piano organ (1968 re-release)
Guy Pedersen .... musician: double bass (1968 re-release)
Jean-Luc Ponty .... musician: violin (1968 re-release)
Michel Portal .... musician: flute (1968 re-release)
Ludwig van Beethoven .... music: 1922 version
 
Other crew
Antony Balch .... re-release producer (1968 sound re-release)
Paul Brewer .... unspecified assistant (1968 release)
Norman Glass .... unspecified assistant (1968 re-release)
Alice O'Fredericks .... script girl
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages" - International (English title) (recut version), USA (recut version)
"The Witches" - USA (informal title)
See more »
Runtime:
91 min | Sweden:87 min | USA:77 min (1968 re-release) | 104 min (DVD version) | Argentina:87 min | 122 min (original version)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Black and White (Sepiatone)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Canada:G (Quebec) | Finland:(Banned) (1923) | Sweden:15 | UK:15 (1994) | UK:X (1968) | USA:Not Rated
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Even though most scenes were filmed in interior studios, because Benjamin Christensen felt that the actor's performances would be best influenced by a more dark and ominous atmosphere, most of the film was shot at night, almost unheard-of at the time.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: 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 its "body". The feet of the crew member at the front of the monster are visible in one shot.See more »
Quotes:
Chief Inquisitor:Listen, Maria the Weaver, did you also see the devil put his mark on the witches' foreheads?
Marie, the Seamstress:Oh, learned men, I saw the witches kiss the evil one on his behind. And the mother of Anna, the printer's wife, wished me a scalding death - that damned woman, I saw her kissing the evil one so tenderly...
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)See more »

FAQ

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
Out of all the silent films I've seen, this is probably the most bizarre both visually and conceptually, 22 October 2006
Author: TheMarquisDeSuave from Worcester, MA

Out of all the silent films I've seen, this is probably the most bizarre both visually and conceptually. A mockumentory and a mondo movie long before either became popular, this purports to explain the phenomenon of witchcraft as being a result of diseased and primitive minds. It provides many scenes as evidence, not to mention some scientific explaining. Its the contrast between the different type of segments that make this film the most unique and avant-garde. The scenes themselves are still among the most surreal ever caught on film. Overall, this is a very disorienting experience, possibly the first psychedelic film (over forty years before such tendencies became popular). For those reasons, it has secured status as an enduring cult classic.

I can not decide upon a single segment as my favorite. The opening explaining man's scientific and supernatural attempts to explain the world throughout the ages (complete with fascinating vintage woodcuts of witchcraft) is one of my favorites. Plus, the midnight ride of the witches on their brooms to meet up with Satan and sacrifice babies takes the clichéd notion of witchcraft to new surrealist heights. The shocking imagery unsurprisingly caused a lot of controversy. For a silent film (even for one made in Sweden and before the moral reform of cinema in the next decade), there are considerable quantities of both nudity and blasphemy. Its more of an attack on the Catholic church than on witchcraft. This is probably why it wasn't released to the states until 1968.

This isn't a perfect film by any means. Its not boring, but is slowly paced and may take two viewings to get through (this isn't recommended though). However, it is so consistently bizarre that your eyes are glued to the screen. For fans of vintage psychotronic cinema, this is a must-see as it is one of the earliest psychotronic films that I know of. It's also a fascinating avant-garde style of film-making that was a few decades ahead of its time. There's a version narrated by William S. Burroughs, but even though I am a massive fan of the Commisoner of the Sewers himself, I'd much rather watch the film as it was intended. The print on the Criterion DVD looks beautiful considering the age and the history of the film. (7/10)

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