Seven Footprints to Satan is a 1929 American horror film directed by Danish filmmaker Benjamin Christensen. Based on the book of the same name by Abraham Merritt, it stars Thelma Todd, Creighton Hale, William V. Mong and Sheldon Lewis, and contains appearances by Sōjin Kamiyama and Angelo Rossitto among others. It was produced as both a silent film and as a part-talkie, making it one of the last – if not the last – silent horror films.

Plot

Jim and Eve, a young society couple, are kidnapped on the eve of Jim's departure for Africa and brought to a mansion that is home to a strange and glamorous Satanic cult.

Cast

  • Thelma Todd as Eve
  • Creighton Hale as Jim
  • Sheldon Lewis as "The Spider"
  • William V. Mong as The Professor
  • DeWitt Jennings as Uncle Joe
  • Nora Cecil as The Old Witch
  • Kalla Pasha as Professor Von Viede
  • Harry Tenbrook as Eve's chauffeur
  • Cissy Fitzgerald as The Old Lady
  • Angelo Rossitto as The Dwarf
  • Charles Gemora as Gorilla (uncredited)
  • Louis Mercier as Satanist (uncredited)
  • Julian Rivero as Satanist (uncredited)
  • Dick Sutherland (uncredited)
Cast notes
  • Loretta Young, in one of her first films, appears uncredited as one of Satan's victims.

Production

Seven Footprints to Satan is the fifth of seven films made by Christensen during his tenure in Hollywood, and is one of only four that survive in a relatively complete state (Eagle's Nest and Haunted House are believed to be lost; House of Horror exists only in sound elements).

Release and response

Seven Footprints to Satan was released as both a silent film and as a sound film with Vitaphone musical score (after first talking picture The Terror (1928), sound effects and some dialogue sequences. The film received generally negative reviews, including from such publications as The New York Times, Variety – which called it "An utterly moronic sound film ... all hokum" – and the Philadelphia Inquirer, in which Mildred Martin wrote "after all the screams and creaks and thumps it reaches a somewhat tame conclusion..." Despite this it performed well at the box office. A companion "Photoplay" edition of the Merritt novel, published by Grosset & Dunlap and featuring several stills from the film, also sold extremely well.

Preservation status

The silent version is in the Danish Film Museum film archive and in the Fondazione Cineteca Italiana film archive (Italian silent title). The sound version is presumed lost, with no known 16mm copy. The Vitaphone soundtrack for recording is also lost.

Gallery

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