Movie 11min

The Devil's Seven Castles (1901)

Original title: Les sept châteaux du diable

+ 3 images
Director Ferdinand Zecca
Country France
Language French
(Original) Les sept châteaux du diable
(Alternative) The Seven Castles of the Devil
(Country Spesific) De syv dødssynder
(UK, DVD, 2012) British Film Institute
(France, 1901) Pathé Frères
(USA, 1904) Pathé Frères
Based on Play Black and White Drama Duel Fantasy Gothic Hell Horror Pact with the Devil Seven Deadly Sins Short Silent Film Sin Temptation The Devil Trick Film

Grand Pantomime in 40 views

An unhappy woodcutter, Fridolin, completely discouraged by misery, longs for death. While he is in this state of mind Satan appears to him and offers him richness and honours. The king of the infernal regions shows him all his castles and Fridolin gradually acquires the Seven Capital sins Satan, in order to punish him for weakness will throw him into the eternal flames, but at this moment Brigitta appears with her talisman, given to her by the good fairy, and saves him.

First appeared in 1902 catalog, but it was produced in 1901.

40 Scenes
The seven deadly sins are orchestrated by the devil. We see successively illustrated Anger, Sloth, Lust, Envy, Avarice, Greed, and Pride, whose mission is to tempt the poor unfortunates to lead them on the "Road to Hell".
The Infernal Laboratory. (Le Laboratoire infernal.)
Astaroth, genie of fire, presents Satan with the diabolical torch. (Astaroth, génie du feu, présente à Satan la torche diabolique.)
Evocation and fire dance. (Évocation et danse du feu.)
The Infernal Boiler. (La chaudière infernale.)
The Sabbath. Entrance and dance of the Witches. (Le Sabbat. Entrée et danse des Sorcières.)
Satan creates the Seven Deadly Sins. (Satan crée les Sept Péchés capitaux.)
Appearance of Fridolin. (Apparition de Fridolin.)
Satan commands the Seven Deadly Sins to tempt him. (Satan ordonne aux Sept Péchés capitaux d’aller le tenter.)
We are in the infernal laboratory. Satan is brought by Astaroth, the genius of fire, the diabolical torch, scepter of his power. After tracing in the air, with the help of this torch, cabalistic signs, he raises a huge boiler from the ground and begins to cook. The demons bring him snakes which he throws into his boiler. Midnight! it's Sabbath time, the witches are making their entrance. After a wild dance, Satan sends them to join the serpents. From this mixture, he creates the seven deadly sins in the form of pretty women whose mission is to descend on earth to tempt some poor devil. First, Satan parades them before him. We see passing successively: Anger, Sloth, Lust, Envy, Greed, Greed, and Pride. Satisfied with his inspection, he soon made to choose his victim whom he made to appear in the background. After staring at her, the seven deadly sins leave to accomplish their mission.
Fridolin's cottage. (La chaumière de Fridolin.)
Satan appears to him and offers him, in exchange for his soul, pleasures and fortune. (Satan lui apparaît et lui offre, en échange de son âme, les plaisirs et la fortune.)
Satan appears to him and offers him, in exchange for his soul, pleasures and fortune. (Satan lui apparaît et lui offre, en échange de son âme, les plaisirs et la fortune.)
Satan appears to him and offers him, in exchange for his soul, pleasures and fortune. (Satan lui apparaît et lui offre, en échange de son âme, les plaisirs et la fortune.)
Fridolin signs the pact. (Fridolin signe le pacte.)
Fridolin is the designated expiatory victim, never was she better chosen. He is a miserable woodcutter overwhelmed by misery and reached the height of discouragement. The attentions of his sweet fiancée Brigitte do not even manage to console him. He pushes her away brutally. In his idea, he sees only death as supreme deliverance. It is in this state of mind that Satan appears to him. After giving her a glimpse of love and fortune, he offers her honors in exchange for her soul. Fridolin initially refuses, but overcome by fate, he makes up his mind and signs the book of the pact brought by demons. Immediately, Satan transforms the miserable cottage into a splendid palace and causes Brigitte to disappear, who could only hinder him in his evil plans.
At the Castle of Envy. (Au Château de l’Envie.)
Changed into a rich lord, Fridolin is chosen as king. (Changé en un riche seigneur, Fridolin est choisi comme roi.)
Fridolin changed into a young lord is dazzled by the wealth accumulated in this new place. Everything pleases him. It is then that two gentlemen come to offer him the crown which must bring him all the happiness. He is taken away by them.
At the Castle of Pride. (Au Château de l’Orgueil.)
Entrance of Fridolin and his court. (Entrée de Fridolin et de sa cour.)
The Coronation. (Le Couronnement.)
Grand Parade of Decorations. (Grand défilé des Décorations.)
Ballet of Pride. (Ballet de l’Orgueil.)
Fridolin disavows his fiancée Brigitte. (Fridolin désavoue sa fiancée Brigitte.)
Appearance of the fairy Isoline, she gives Brigitte the talisman which must save Fridolin. (Apparition de la fée Isoline, elle remet à Brigitte le talisman qui doit sauver Fridolin.)
Appearance of the fairy Isoline, she gives Brigitte the talisman which must save Fridolin. (Apparition de la fée Isoline, elle remet à Brigitte le talisman qui doit sauver Fridolin.)
Fridolin enters. Satan in the guise of a Grand Chamberlain proceeds immediately to the coronation ceremony. We witness a superb parade of decorations that the great powers come to offer to the new king. Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, France, and England. The party ends with a splendid ballet. But Brigitte, who has not given up hope of finding her lost fiancé, arrives in trouble and tries to approach Fridolin. The latter, having reached the summit of greatness and filled with pride, disdainfully pushes away the poor girl who, in despair, falls to her knees crying. It is then that the fairy Isoline, her godmother, who watches over her, appears to her and gives her an olive branch which must serve as a talisman to win back her fiancé.
At the Castle of Avarice. (Au Château de l’Avarice.)
Fridolin is stripped of his treasures by brigands. (Fridolin est dépouillé de ses trésors par des brigands.)
The sudden ups and downs that arose as a result of his change of situation inevitably led Fridolin to wallow in his treasures. Also, we see him arrive in the vaults of the Castle of Avarice to be able to enjoy his riches. Satan who does not lose sight of him comes to disturb him in his contemplations. Helped by his demons changed into brigands, they force him, under threat of death, to give up his throat and rob him mercilessly.
At the castle of Anger. (Au château de la Colère.)
The Metamorphoses of Satan. (Les Métamorphoses de Satan.)
Explosion and destruction of the Castle of Anger. (Explosion et destruction du Château de la Colère.)
The Devastation. (La Dévastation.)
Furious, he rushes in pursuit of his captors to the terraces of the Château de la Colère. There he is again in the presence of Satan. He pulls out his sword and tries to slash it. His anger knows no bounds. But Satan slips away by means of multiple metamorphoses and he only manages to type in the void. It was then that an absolutely unexpected catastrophe occurred; all the surrounding forts erupt from their machicolations and, in a tremendous explosion, the castle is completely annihilated. Fridolin has disappeared in the disaster, only Satan remains standing on this heap of ruins. It is devastation.
In the Pays de Cocagne, the Château de la Gourmandise. (Au Pays de Cocagne, le Château de la Gourmandise.)
The Meal of Gargantua. (Le Repas de Gargantua.)
The Army of Marmitons. Parade. (L’Armée des Marmitons. Défilé.)
Pursuit of the Apothecaries. (Poursuite des Apothicaires.)
Fridolin, whom the explosion had sent into the air, falls back into the land of plenty. He arrives just as the famous Gargantua, the lord of the place is having his meal. He witnesses the parade of a considerable quantity of victuals that an army of scullions engulfs in the mouth of this monster eater that nothing can satiate. Nevertheless, we take care of serving Fridolin, whose appetite for space travel has whetted his appetite. Excited by gluttony, he eats so much that it does not take long to suffer from indigestion, which necessitates the arrival of a band of apothecaries who set out to perform their duties. Fridolin, who does not hear of this ear, flees pursued by them.
At the Castle of Laziness. (Au Château de la Paresse.)
Ballet of Lust. (Ballet de la Luxure.)
Broken by so many emotions and managed to track down the unleashed enrages on his heels, Fridolin finally arrives at the Château de la Paresse where, at least, he can enjoy a well-earned rest. He is no sooner asleep than he thinks he sees the statues that adorn the room come to life, come down from their plinths and, transformed into graceful houris, engage in a most lascivious dance around him. He wakes up and, intoxicated with lust, he wants to seize them, but cruel reality, as he wants to seize them they resume their primitive form, it is nothing more than marble. Satan who, in the guise of a eunuch has lost nothing of the scene, finds that the moment to seize Fridolin's soul has finally arrived. So he suddenly substitutes two demons for the statues who, on a sign, seize Fridolin and lead him to hell.
On the Styx, the road to the Underworld. (Sur le Styx, la route des Enfers.)
Convoy of the Damned. (Convoi des Damnés.)
Fridolin is taken to the Underworld. (Fridolin est emmené aux Enfers.)
This road is unfortunately always crowded, Fridolin is forced to wait his turn. Here is first the first gondola - love makes time pass - then Caron the ferryman of the Underworld, escorts the convoy of the damned. The bad doctor, the policeman, the counterfeit wine merchant then successively the usurer and the miser, the bad ruler, the astronomer, the bad judge, the baker who sold bran for flour, spoils him -sauce, the drunkard on his barrel and finally Fridolin accompanied by demons.
The Kingdom of Satan. (Le Royaume de Satan.)
Fridolin, after having drunk from the cup of all pleasures, is finally obliged to comply. Satan, surrounded by his entire court, orders to seize him and throw him into the eternal flames. It is then that Brigitte who, thanks to her talisman, was able to penetrate so far suddenly appears. She waves her olive branch and we see the bottom part open to reveal Saint George slaying the demon while the others flee in terror.
Triumph of Brigitte. (Triomphe de Brigitte.)
Apotheosis. Brigitte, beaming with joy, rushes towards Fridolin, they both climb the steps of the throne. Saint George has disappeared to make way for the fairy Isoline who presides over the engagement of the two lovers in a splendid apotheosis.
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Ferdinand Zecca - Director
Albert Colas - Production Design (Set Decoration)
Maison L. Granier - Production Design (Costumes)
A fantastic movie of the time

Ferdinand Zecca seems to have spared little while making this spectacle. It's loosely based on the Faust story, although it feels more like Faust than some of the other Faust movies of the time. The text on the contract even says "Faust" even if the name of the chap is Fridolin. The implementation of the seven deadly sins into this story is a stroke of genius, and it expands the narrative from a simple, short, Faustian movie into an 11-minute long multi-scene experience that must have taken the cinema world by storm at that time. I must say, I enjoyed this one a lot.