In New York, the money-driven dealer Dean Corso is a rare-books expert and partner of Bernie, who owns a bookstore. He is contacted by the renowned collector of books about the devil Boris Balkan, who has just acquired the rare The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows from the collector Andrew Telfer, to verify whether his book is authentic or a forgery. Balkan explains that the book was written by the writer Aristide Torchia, in 1666, with Lucifer and he was burned at the stake with his entire work. There are only three exemplars of The Nine Gates and in accordance with the legend, its nine engravings form a riddle to conjure the devil. The skeptical Corso accepts the assignment and has to fly to Sintra, Portugal, and Paris, France, to contact the owners Victor Fargas and Baroness Kessler and find the genuine exemplar for Balkan. Meanwhile, he asks Bernie to hide the rare book. Before traveling to Europe, the widow Liana Telfer wants to retrieve the book and has sex with Corso, but ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Hildegard Knef was supposed to play the part of "Baroness Kessler", but had to drop out, because of illness. See more »
While showing off his collection to Corso, Fargas presents a
"Dictionaire Infernal" by Jacques Collin de Plancy, which he says is a first edition from 1844. The first edition of this influential encyclopedia on superstition appeared in 1818, but its sixth edition, published in 1863, is prized for its illustrations, including 72 drawings of demons. The copy Fargas holds has a title page that is from the 1863 edition. See more »
It's an impressive collection. You have some very rare editions here. Are you sure you want to sell them all?
Old Man's Son:
They're of no use to father. Not anymore. Not since he's been this way. His library was his whole world. Now it's just a painful memory.
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Johnny Depp is perfect as an acerbic, bookish, cynical, morally corrupt book dealer. There is a great cast of occultist characters who are way over the top and enjoyable all the way. Frank Langella as a giant, power hungry cult leader and Lena Olin as an evil she-devil woman are superb. The script is perfect, and every line has meaning and resonance. The director does a good job at allowing the viewer to experience the mystery contained in those old books first-hand. I think the filmmaker had a vision, didn't compromise and made the exact film he wanted to make. It is a mature, ugly, interesting film with a lot of class but it probably won't be enjoyed by a lot of people out there.
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