Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Bearing only a tenuous connection to Dante Alighieri's epic poem, the 1924 Dante's Inferno bears more resemblance to A Christmas Carol. Hard-hearted businessman Ralph Lewis drives a former friend to contemplate suicide. Just before disappearing into the night, the friend gives Lewis a copy of Dante's Inferno as a cautionary gesture. Lewis reads the volume but ignores its message and continues in his standard ruthless vein. As a result, everyone and everything he cares about is destroyed. Making a last-minute gesture to save his friend from suicide, Lewis is not only too late, but is accused of the man's murder. Executed in the electric chair, Lewis is dragged into Hell, where the horrified man is forced to witness the various methods of Eternal Damnation described in Dante's tale. Suddenly, Lewis finds himself back in his study; the whole horrible episode has been a nightmare. In fine Scrooge tradition, Lewis vows to mend his ways. Many historians are of the opinion that the Hell sequences in Dante's Inferno have been lifted from a long-lost European epic, title unknown. Certainly there is a radical difference in quality between the narrative and the nightmare scenes, but as of yet no one has determined whether or not the film was in fact a hybrid. Dante's Inferno has become one of the most oft-requested silent films among casual movie fans, chiefly because of a tantalizing production still showing an apparently naked Pauline Starke being flogged by a hulking demon.
damnation, Hell, nightmare, suicide, fire, time
High Budget, High Production Values