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To the Devil a Daughter (1976)

R | | Horror | July 1976 (USA)
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An American occult novelist battles to save the soul of a young girl from a group of Satanists, led by an excommunicated priest, who plan on using her as the representative of the Devil on Earth.

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Writers:

(screenplay) (as Chris Wicking), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Anna Fountain
...
...
George de Grass
...
Catherine Beddows
Eva Maria Meineke ...
Eveline de Grass
Anthony Valentine ...
David Kennedy
Derek Francis ...
Bishop
Izabella Telezynska ...
Margaret (as Isabella Telezynska)
...
Kollde (as Constantin de Goguel)
Anna Bentinck ...
Isabel
Irene Prador ...
German Matron
Brian Wilde ...
Black Room Attendant
Petra Peters ...
Sister Helle
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Storyline

An excommunicated priest sets up a satanic cult that only looks Catholic on the outside. He convinces a man to sign over his daughter's soul so that she will become the devil's representative on earth on her eighteenth birthday, but as that day nears, the man seeks the help of an American occult novelist to save his daughter, both physically and spiritually. Written by Brian J. Wright <tyrannorabbit@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...and suddenly the screams of a baby born in Hell! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

July 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Child of Satan  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Two high-priced British actors were cast as David and George De Grass but because Richard Widmark fee was higher than expected. The roles of David and George De Grass were recast at the 11th hour. See more »

Goofs

During the scene where Catherine is about to be injected with morphine, he doesn't fill the syringe properly, the plunger staying at the bottom. Then it suddenly switches to a full syringe with the plunger fully extended. See more »

Quotes

Father Michael Rayner: It is not heresy, and I will not recant!
See more »

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User Reviews

The Film Itself -- Ehh. The "Making-Of" Documentary -- Outstanding
14 March 2014 | by (Ohio/PA border) – See all my reviews

Occasionally I'm in the mood for an occult mystery/horror film like "Bay Cove," "The Devil Rides Out" (AKA "The Devil's Bride"), "Race with the Devil and (to a lesser extent) "Rosemary's Baby," which explains why I recently picked up this 1976 Hammer film "To The Devil A Daughter" (which was Hammer's answer to American horror hits like "The Exorcist" and "Rosemary's Baby"). Hey, with Nastassja Kinski, Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee and Honor Blackman in the cast, how can you go wrong?

THE STORY: In London, Richard Widmark plays an occult novelist who is asked to protect a man's daughter, a young nun (Kinski), from a cult of satanists led by a malevolent Christopher Lee, who possesses supernatural powers. They need her for some diabolical ritual. The story is loosely based on the Dennis Wheatley novel. Wheatley was furious with the numerous changes and called the film "obscene."

WHAT WORKS: The picture pretty much maintains your interest as the mystery slowly progresses.

The London (and Germany) locations are excellent. They seemed to have more money to work with in this regard than most Hammer films. Speaking of Hammer, "To the Devil a Daughter" doesn't FEEL like a Hammer picture at all. Don't get me wrong, I love the unique, colorful ambiance of Hammer films, but this is a nice (and unsuspected) change.

For those who care, Kinski is shown completely naked from the front. Unfortunately Lee is also show in the nude, albeit from behind. One thing I never cared to see in my life was Christopher Lee's butt.

There's a fairly shocking, obscene "devil baby" sequence. I'm not sure yet if this scene fits or even makes sense (I'll have to see the film again to decide) but they did a good job with the infant F/X, at least for 1976.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Like I said, the mystery has a fairly good build-up but the ending somehow doesn't work. Yes, they throw in some bizarre things -- the aforementioned "devil baby" scene and a wild satanist orgy (which is more silly than shocking) -- but, I don't know, I was left feeling disappointed. It should have ended with a bang (at least I expect it to), but it doesn't.

COMMENTARY: This was Hammer's penultimate film and their final horror picture. Surprisingly, "To the Devil a Daughter" was a hit and made lots of money, at least in Europe, but Hammer Studios had debts to pay and the movie's success couldn't save them.

BOTTOM LINE: The film itself is just okay, so I can only barely recommend it to those interested in occult/mystery stories, Hammer and the actors involved. What makes this DVD worth picking up, believe it or not, is the excellent 24-minute "making-of" documentary that discusses the film and the demise of Hammer Studios; it's called "To the Devil... The Death of Hammer." The documentary includes interviews with Lee, Blackman, the director, the producer and many more. It's very informative and entertaining. By all accounts Widmark was arrogant and a real bastage to work with. The Hollywood "star" frequently insulted the English filmmakers (calling the picture a "Micky Mouse production"), walking off the set, arguing, brawling and kicking over expensive equipment (!!). Every aspect of the film is addressed, including changes from the novel, Wheatley's objections, the ending's failure, etc.

GRADE: C+


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