Seven Footprints to Satan
|Seven Footprints to Satan|
theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Benjamin Christensen|
|Produced by||Richard A. Rowland|
|Written by||Benjamin Christensen|
|Based on||7 Footprints to Satan
by Abraham Merritt
William V. Mong
|Edited by||Frank Ware|
|Distributed by||First National Pictures|
|January 27, 1929 (silent)
February 17, 1929 (sound)
6 reels (5,405 feet)
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.
- Loretta Young, in one of her first films, appears uncredited as one of Satan's victims.
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.
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.
- Donati, William. The Life and Death of Thelma Todd. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 35 Accessed 29 April 2013
- Clarens, Carlos. An Illustrated History of Horror and Science-fiction Films. New York, NY: Putnam. p. 57. Accessed 58
- Nicoletta, Henry and Soister, John T. (2012) American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913-1929. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland p.509. ISBN 9780786487905. Accessed: April 29, 2013