The Fountain of Youth (1922)

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Although Ivan Abramson was known for his exploitative, moralistic melodramas, he tried something a little different with this feature. And although it's still heavy on the moralizing, this fantasy, inspired by Faust, does it through allegory and animation. Its approach and attitude was criticized as "high brow" by critics of the day. Russian nobleman Pan Peters tells his son, a doctor and promising scientist, that many years before he had sold his soul to Satan. To break the vow, Dr. Peters obtains a bowl of holy water from a saint and takes it to the gates of Hades. He forces the demon there to give up the scroll signed by his father. Years later, as an elderly man, Dr. Peters is tempted by the devil, who points out that he has neglected the finer things in life, and offers him supernatural powers. As if he hadn't learned his lesson long ago, Peters signs away his soul. He becomes rejuvenated, marries a beautiful young woman, and performs miracles. But his world crumbles when he fails to perform a miracle for the king and is thrown in prison. He escapes only to discover that his wife has been untrue. Just as he's about to drown his sorrows in alcohol, the devil comes for his due. Peters prays to God. He's unworthy of heavenly help, but his demonic powers keep him in limbo between heaven and earth.