The Devil's Pass Key

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The Devil's Pass Key
Lobby card
Directed by Erich von Stroheim
Produced by Carl Laemmle
Screenplay by Erich von Stroheim
Story by Erich von Stroheim as
"Baroness de Meyer"
Starring Sam de Grasse
Mae Busch
Maude George
Leo White
Cinematography Ben F. Reynolds
William H. Daniels
Howard Oswald
Edited by Jean Spencer
Grant Whytock
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s)
  • August 30, 1920 (1920-08-30)
Running time Appx 80 minutes (at 7 reels)
Country United States
Language Silent (English intertitles)

The Devil's Pass Key (or The Devil's Passkey) was a 1920 silent drama film directed by Erich von Stroheim.[1][2][3][4]

The film was produced by Universal Pictures and distributed under their Jewel banner.[3] The film was von Stroheim's second directorial effort,[5] and considered one of best screen exhibitions of August 1920,[6][7] with The New York Times later calling it "One of the best photodramatic productions of the year".[8]

The last known prints of the movie were discovered to have disintegrated in 1941, and the film is today famous as a lost film.[4][9] Because this film has been lost for so long, historians often omit it when discussing or writing about the canon of von Stroheim's film work.


Grace Goodright (Una Trevelyn) is the wife of Warren Goodright (Sam de Grasse), an American playwright living in Paris. Grace is living beyond her means and owes dressmaker Renee Malot (Maude George) money.

Malot suggests that Grace contact American army officer Captain Rex Strong (Clyde Fillmore) who might be able to assist her financially. Rex offers Grace a loan, but only if she grants him sexual favors. Grace refuses, and Malot, angered at losing an opportunity for money, attempts unsuccessfully to blackmail Grace.


  • Sam de Grasse as Warren Goodright
  • Mae Busch as La Belle Odera
  • Maude George as Renee Malot
  • Leo White as Amadeus Malot
  • Jack Mathis as Count De Trouvere
  • Albert Edmondson as Alphonse Marior
  • Una Trevelyn as Grace Goodright
  • Clyde Fillmore as Captain Rex Strong
  • Ruth King as Yvonne Strong
  • Edward Reinach as Director of Theatre Français
Additional cast


  1. ^ "The Screen: The Devil's Pass Key". The New York Times (The New York Times archives). August 9, 1920. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "Noticed and Noted". The New York Times. September 5, 1920. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Koszarski, Richard (1983). The Man You Loved to Hate: Erich von Stroheim and Hollywood. Oxford University Press. p. 46. ISBN 0-19-503239-X. 
  4. ^ a b Lennig, Arthur (2003). Stroheim (2, illustrated ed.). University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0813190444. 
  5. ^ Georges Sadoul, Peter Morris (1972). Peter Morris, ed. Dictionary of Film Makers. University of California Press. p. 224. ISBN 0520021517. 
  6. ^ Slide, Anthony (1982). Anthony Slide, ed. Selected Film Criticism: 1912-1920. G - Reference, Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series (revised, illustrated ed.). Scarecrow Press. pp. 71, 72. ISBN 0810815257. 
  7. ^ Koszarski, Richard (1977). The Unknown Cinema of Erich von Stroheim: Reconstruction and Analysis of The Devil's Pass Key, Queen Kelly and Walking Down Broadway. New York University. pp. 93 through 105. 
  8. ^ "Screen: People and Plays". The New York Times. January 2, 1921. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  9. ^ Progressive Silent Film List: The Devil's Pass Key at

External links[edit]