Seven Footprints to Satan

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Seven Footprints to Satan
Poster of the movie Seven Footprints to Satan.jpg
theatrical release poster
Directed by Benjamin Christensen
Produced by Richard A. Rowland
Written by Benjamin Christensen
Based on 7 Footprints to Satan
(1928 novel)
by Abraham Merritt
Starring Thelma Todd
Creighton Hale
William V. Mong
Sheldon Lewis
Cinematography Sol Polito
Edited by Frank Ware
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
January 27, 1929 (silent)
February 17, 1929 (sound)
Running time
60 minutes
6 reels (5,405 feet)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $129,950[1]

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.[2]


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 notes


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).[citation needed]

Release and response[edit]

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..."[3] 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.[citation needed]

Preservation status[edit]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Donati, William. The Life and Death of Thelma Todd. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 35 Accessed 29 April 2013
  2. ^ Clarens, Carlos. An Illustrated History of Horror and Science-fiction Films. New York, NY: Putnam. p. 57. Accessed 58
  3. ^ 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

External links[edit]