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A young man of society wants to make an expedition to Africa, but his fiancée asks him for help about one of her fathers guests shortly before his planed departure. Her suspects about that guest were serious, this man tries to steal one of her fathers rubin, and she and her fiance are kidnapped and brought to a house, where strange things happen. The whole thing becomes a nightmare under the direction of a mysterious Mr. Satan. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For years "Seven Footprints to Satan" has been considered a lost film. Often it was mentioned in magazines like FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND with mysterious photos that only titillated film collectors and horror buffs who had heard stories, but had never seen the film.
A little background on the film: the film was shot silent, but during the transition to sound, was given a music and sound effects track, and a talkie end sequence was shot. Of two extant prints, the one that has been bootlegged is a silent print made for foreign release with Italian intertitles.
The basic story is about James Kirkham and his girlfriend Eve being kidnapped to an old dark house involving jewel thieves and a cult led by "Satan". I won't give too much away, just review in general.
The film starts off very atmospheric, with the editing done so that when you think one thing is occurring, it's really something else. The whole theme of the film is very early art deco, and it is a pleasure to see Sol Polito's master camera-work, even if it is ravaged by the hands of time.
The film in style is not unlike Christensen's other film, HAXAN(1922), with bizarre orgies, scantily clothed women, bizarre characters and obtuse sets that overshadow characters at times. The whole atmosphere of the movie is a low key sort of insanity, and even with the wide sets seems claustrophobic.
The acting is a little over the top at times, but generally due to pantomime that was not uncommon of silent films of that period. Creighton Hale doesn't seem very heroic, more like a scared schoolboy, and Thelma Todd can't make up her mind if she's the heroine or the damsel in distress. Sheldon Lewis, Sojin, and Angelo Rossitto all have memorable characters in the movie, and add to Christensen's bizarre world of "Satan", the hooded villain of the film.
The ending really crashes the picture into a brick wall, but overall the movie is worth a viewing, though not the classic everyone expected(or at least, not myself).
I don't expect much to offend anyone in this film of today's audience, but definitely not for squares. There's very little violence, and what is is pretty stagy. There is a scene where a gorilla attacks a naked woman in chains, but there is no nudity and the violence is off screen and implied. The story line is rather complicated, and the Italian intertitles don't help, so it's probably not something for children. People who enjoy Christensen films, Tod Browning films, old dark house mysteries, and/or silent era/early films will enjoy this movie.
My rating 6/10. Has good sets, lighting and camera-work, and a decent story, which fails to come full circle and the acting is a little edgy.
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