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The Sign of the Cross (1899)

Le diable au couvent (original title)
Not Rated | | Short, Fantasy, Horror | 30 June 1900 (USA)
Satan appears in a convent and takes the guise of a priest. Before long he is causing all manner of perturbation and despair.

Director:

Georges Méliès (uncredited)
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Georges Méliès ... The Devil (uncredited)
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Storyline

As evil incarnates in many forms--from horrible manifestations of pure darkness to light-bearing protectors--this time, the archfiend disguises himself as a righteous vicar to infiltrate a peaceful nunnery. Before long, his little sermon turns to pandemonium, scaring the nuns off the chapel, while attempting to establish his unholy presence in the house of God. However, the enemy is condemned to lose, as the omnipotent Celestial Guardian, the Archangel St. Michael, banishes the malevolent spirits back to the chasms of Hell, in a typical scene depicting the eternal battle between Good and Evil. Written by Nick Riganas

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Plot Keywords:

abbey | nunnery | monastery | nun | devil | See All (10) »

Genres:

Short | Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Release Date:

30 June 1900 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sign of the Cross See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Star-Film See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Color (hand-colored)| Black and White
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 2010, the Cinémathèque Basque received a donation of a box of 35mm films, recovered by a private individual in 1995 from a garbage bin in Bilbao. The box was found to contain 32 films, including hand-colored prints of The Devil in a Convent and another 1899 Méliès film, The Mysterious Knight. Previously, these two films had only been available in black-and-white copies. The hand-colored print of The Devil in a Convent was judged to be in too advanced a state of decomposition to be restored completely; however, the third scene of the film was in good enough condition to be restored. Both films were entrusted to the Filmoteca de Catalunya for restoration, under the supervision of two Méliès scholars, Roland Cosandey and Jacques Malthête. (Source: Wikipedia; Quévrain, Anne-Marie (October 2014), "Deux films en couleurs de Georges Méliès retrouvés en Espagne!") See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fairly routine Méliès fantasy short
6 April 2012 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

This is another of Georges Méliès fantasy shorts. In this one Satan appears in a convent and takes the guise of a priest. Before long he announces himself and scares away the nuns. H then proceeds to make the place his own with various demonic décor and a selection of minions. The religious authorities eventually rise up and defeat him, banishing him from the convent.

I wouldn't say this is one of Méliès best. It's still inventive and full of trick shots. We would expect nothing less from the great man. But it's perhaps not as visually interesting as some others he made at the time. Still well worth seeing if you are interested in the earliest days of film.


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