Movie 6min

The Damnation of Faust (1903)

Original title: Faust aux enfers

+ 10 images
Director Georges Méliès
Country France
Language French
(Alternative) Faust in Hell
(Original) Faust aux enfers
(Country Spesific) The Condemnation of Faust
(France) Georges Méliès
(France) Star-Film
(USA, 1903) Georges Méliès
(USA, 1904) S. Lubin
(France) Star-Film
Based on Play Black and White Condemnation Dance Demons Drama Fantasy Gothic Hell Horror Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Mythology Pact with the Devil Short Silent Film The Devil Trick Film Vision

A grand fantastical fantasy in 15 motion tableaux, inspired by Berlioz’s celebrated song poem. Even though this film was filmed first as number 527-533 in the Star Film catalog, this is actually a continuation of the later filmed "Faust and Marguerite"(1904) numbered 562. "Faust and Marguerite" ends with the devil taking Faust to hell, while "The Damnation of Faust" is where it begins.

15 Scenes
The Route to the Depths of Perdition.
(A Dazzingly Sensational New Effect.) After the death of Marguerite, Mephistopheles takes possession of Doctor Faust. They mount a mettlesome steed upon which the latter is borne away to the realm of Satan.
The Fantastical Ride.
Faust and Mephistopheles pass across the picture at a terrific rate. Along the horizon a fantastical panorama is unrolled with dazzling rapidity whilst the horse gallops at a break-neck pace.
The Gloomy Pass.
In the horizontal evolution of the panorama one sees the horse and his two riders enter into a narrow gorge with steep sides and of a lonely aspect. They disappear in the distance.
The Stream.
The picturesque setting represents a huge wall of bare rocks of a dizzy height, from the summit of which falls a mass of natural water. Mephistopheles descends from the top dragging Faust after him. A trail of fire follows closely after the demon as the makes his way down the steep incline. They arrive at the cataract, and as it bars their passage. Mephistopheles commands it to cease, thereby disclosing the mouth of a cavern, into which the two personages enter. Immediately after their entrance the waterfall flows again with mighty force.
The Entrance to the Lower Regions.
This tableau represents a sort of declivitous tunnel which slopes down into the bowels of the earth. Mephistopheles continues to drag Faust on. But in spite of the latter’s protestations the two proceed down to the subterranean regions.
The Marvelous Grottoes.
(Tableau with six dissolving Scenes.) These two personages next pass through a series of grottoes effectively painted, as they wend their way to Satan’s empire. Rapid changes of varied tableaux marvelously constructed.
The Crystal Stalactites
A grand fantastical grotto hung with stalactites of crystal which, in the infernal light, shine with amazing splendor.
The Devil's Hole
Mephistopheles gives Doctor Faust a few moments of rest, for he is almost worn out from the long and arduous journey which they have pursued uninterruptedly. The he points to a shadowy passageway-The Devil’s Hole and he commands Faust, shaking with fear, to advance. (Dissolving view.)
The Ice Cavern.
The preceding setting, dim and gloomy, gives way to a resplendent scene, a magnificent cavern of transparent ice.
The Goddesses of Antiquity
(A Superb Fantastical Ballet in a Snowstorm.) At the command of Mephistopheles the goddesses of ancient mythology who dwell in the realm of Satan come forth from the ground and execute a brilliant ballet. For a moment Faust forgets his sad fate and enjoys with unalloyed delights the wonders Satan shows him.
The Subterranean Cascade
(A New Trick with Apparition in a Waterfall.) Suddenly the dancers vanish into space, and the grotto is transformed into a grand cascade of natural water, occupying the entire picture.
The Nymphs of the Underworld.
(The Seven Headed Hydra, The Demons, The Struggle of Water with Fire (a big Novelty.)) The Seven Headed Hydra-The Demons-In the midst of the falling water of the cascade there appears almost imperceptibly some naiads floating about in the air, and others are grouped around, forming a charming ensemble. They gradually fade away and in the water trickling down the cliff there appears a monster in the shape of a seven-headed hydra, which twists restlessly about much to the fright of Faust. This beast disappears in his turn and demons bearing burning torches pass to and for over the falls, while performing all sorts of capers. They set fire to the cavern; the fire finally triumphs over the water, which ceases to flow. Mephistopheles seizes Faust and wraps him in his cloak, and both then vanish into the ground.
The Descent to Satan's Domain
(A clever trick now first shown.) Faust and Mephistopheles descend through space in a sort of well hollowed out of rock. As the walls are made to move rapidly upward in the picture the effect upon the spectator is that of two people leaping down from a great height to unknown depths below. (A new trick highly sensational.)
The Furnace.
As Faust and his Master descend they arrive from the top of the picture at a grotto of fire and flames terrifying in its appearance. They have reached the end of their journey. Faust is hurled into the furnace, which immediately sends forth a cloud of smoke and fire, while a band of demons dance merrily about in wild and fiendish contortions.
The Triumph of Mephistopheles.
(Apotheosis.) The inhabitants rush in from every direction, and amid the mighty flames they form a strikingly picturesque ensemble. Mephistopheles rises above the crowd with an air of triumph, and crowns the scene by spreading his enormous wings after the manner of a fantastical bat. His subjects render their homage to the Master of the Infernal Powers.
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Georges Méliès - Mephistopholes
Georges Méliès - Production Design
Georges Méliès - Producer
Georges Méliès - Writer
Hector Berlioz - Writer (Poem)
Georges Méliès - Director
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe - Writer (Play)
Great, but not as good as the next one

The Damnation of Faust is a really good Faust film as it is one of the first lengthy ones, covering 15 scenes. This does not hinder Georges Méliès to experiment and try out a handful of new effects. I would say the movie is a bit boring in the sense that there are so many scenes with Mephistoles dragging Faust along through hell, but luckily there are pauses with ballets and monsters in waterfalls in their descent until the grand finale.