Devil (1921)

Genres - Drama  |  
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Stage star George Arliss had been a huge success in the 1906 stage play on which this film was based. Other versions had already been filmed, but nothing could compare to Arliss when he decided to reprise his role on screen. His character, Dr. Mueller, is the devil incarnate, determined to ruin the lives of four young lovers -- Georges, a banker (Roland Bottomly), Marie, his fiancée (Lucy Cotton), Georges' artist friend, Paul (Edmund Lowe), and Mimi, his model (Sylvia Breamer). When Marie insists that truth will always win out over evil, Mueller puts her assertion to the test. He sees that Marie and Paul are thrown together so that they fall in love with each other. Then he encourages Mimi to seduce Paul, who is guilty about betraying Georges. Just as Marie and Paul have decided to be together, Mueller convinces her that Paul is still seeing Mimi. Mueller plays with the young lovers as if they were puppets on a string, and nearly wins out. But Mimi figures out his evil lies and machinations. Before he will admit defeat, Mueller makes an unsuccessful stab at abducting Marie, but he is held at bay by a ghostly cross. The last we see of Mueller, he is smilingly engulfed in hellish flames, waiting for a new opportunity. Though new to screen technique, Arliss is delightful in this -- he turns the role into high camp as only an old ham can do. At 53, this strange looking but charismatic actor became as popular on screen as he was on stage. His wife, Florence Arliss, appears as Marie's mother. Also billed is a certain Frederick Bickel, who would later become more well known as Frederic March.

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Keywords

good-vs-evil, gossip, love, murder, temptation