Movie 7min

Martyrs of the Inquisition (1905)

Original title: Les Martyrs de l’Inquisition
Not rated.

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Director Lucien Nonguet
Country France
Language French
(Original) Les Martyrs de l’Inquisition
(Country Spesific) Los Mártires de la Inquisicion
(Country Spesific) Maertyrer der Inquisition
(Short) L'Inquisition
(France, 1905) Pathé Frères
(USA, 1906) Pathé Frères
(US Import) Pathé Frères
Black and White Burned on a Stake Historical Drama History Intolerance Martyrdom Middle Ages Prison Short Silent Film The Spanish Inquisition Torture

Frames from the film is preserved in the Turconi Collection.[1]

One of the most realistic and vivid reproductions of this notable torture chamber of the middle ages in five scenes: 1 The Prison. Whence the prisoners are called out to undergo their trials and suffering. 2 Torture Chamber, where we see prisoners undergoing many or the well-known forms of torture used. 3 The Rack. 4 Torture on the Wheel. 5 Burning at the Stake. The whole Is beautifully tinted; In new colors by a process of our own.

Source: Lubin Catalog

Dramatic Scene in five Tableaux. Prison-Room of Torture-The Rack-The Wheel-The Stake. Shows the religious intolerance of the mindle ages compared with the liberties of to-day.

Source: The Era, November 4, 1905, p. 33.

Historical scene in 5 paintings
Descriptions translated from French.
Jail (La prison)
The prisons, or rather the dungeons, were deep dungeons, veritable tombs more than thirty feet underground. The unfortunates, condemned to live in these places, to the number of six or eight, were lying on the damp ground in a vitiated atmosphere; they were stripped of clothes and shivering. Among these unfortunates, women and children; how touching are these children who play and laugh alongside pain and death! Every day the executioners came to fetch a few new victims to bring them before the court where they were led with whips.
The gallery of tortures (La galerie des supplices)
In the middle of a vast rotunda, in a deep vault, is the chamber of torment, on the walls are suspended instruments of torture; they are trestles, iron boots, nails of enormous size, ropes of all sizes. We descend into this infernal place by a multitude of small winding stairs. The grand inquisitor makes his entry followed by the apostolic notary and the familiars of the Holy Office, in accordance with article 18 of the code of the Inquisition which required that these two characters were always present to record the statements of the defendants. After a few summary executions such as the punishment of the whip which was applied to all unfortunate people, without distinction of age or sex, which caused some moaning to be heard, a heretic is locked up in the Nuremberg cupboard, an iron box, lined inside with spikes which penetrated into all parts of the body of the victim who was enclosed therein. Another patient is stretched out on a wooden bench, his feet caught in a kind of straitjacket, his hands tied to the foot of the bench so as to bring the body back as if folded in on itself, in such a way that it is impossible for him to make the slightest movement. A blazing brazier is then placed under the patient's feet and coated with oil. The executioner passes them with a hot iron, the action of the fire, excited by the presence of these fatty substances, becomes in a few minutes so penetrating, that the skin splits, the flesh contracts and withdraws, leaving bare the nerves, the tendons and bones. At a sign from the Grand Inquisitor, the executioners bring the accused stripped of his clothes. They want him to confess to a crime he never committed; on his refusal, the masked men seize the unfortunate man, tie his hands behind his back, then, seizing the end of the rope which hangs above his head, tie him to his feet and remove the patient until at the height of the vault. Then they tie a heavy stone to his hands.
The Torture Bench (Le Banc de torture)
The patient lies on a bench in the form of a gutter, just wide enough to accommodate him and arranged so that the head is lower than the feet. At this moment, the torturers violently turn a wooden tourniquet which tightens the ropes to which the victim is bound. They introduce a funnel into his mouth and pour water in small quantities, the victim, whose breathing becomes more and more difficult, makes incredible efforts to swallow this water and suck in a little air, but at each his efforts which necessarily impart to his whole body a painful convulsion, the executioners turn the tourniquet and the cord penetrates to the bones.
The torture of the wheel (Le Supplice de la roue)
Tied to a wooden drum, the victim, whose flesh is already bruised by this circular position, undergoes the most terrifying of tortures. The executioners, in fact who took care to place a fiery brazier below, rotate the wheel at a skillfully calculated speed to graduate the degree of suffering. The body goes back and forth over this brazier that one of the helpers ardently stirs up with the help of a bellows. Then the brazier is replaced by a bench lined with spikes on which the unfortunate man turns and plows his flesh.
The Auto-da-fe (L’Auto-da-fé)
On the widest facade of the square, in front of the palace occupied by the king and his retinue, is erected the stake made of resinous wood, oily materials and straw so that the combustion is faster. To the right of this pyre rises an amphitheater on the steps of which we see the armchair intended for the Grand Inquisitor. The condemned are brought in a procession wearing a mitre. After the sentence is read, they are tied to the stake and the executioner, armed with a torch, comes to set it on fire. Soon a thick and blackish smoke rises around the victims, whose terrible agony begins. During this time, the priests play a verse from the “De Profundis” or the “Miserere”, a lugubrious psalmody which mingles with human lamentations, with the death rattles. And the people, kneeling, remain bent under a deep impression of terror and
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Fernand Rivers -
Lucien Nonguet - Director