To the Devil a Daughter (1976)

Article 3326 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-6-2010
Posting Date: 9-22-2010
Directed by Peter Sykes
Featuring Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Honor Blackmon
Country: UK / West Germany
What it is: Devil worship story

An occult writer takes over the care of the daughter of a repentant Satanist in the hopes that the information he learns will make for a great book. Unfortunately, he finds himself in over his head when the Satanists turn out to be very serious and very dangerous, and he must come up to speed very quickly if he hopes to save her life… and the world.

This was Hammer’s swan song, and based on its rating on IMDB, I’m guessing it isn’t a particular favorite. Nevertheless, for the most part I like it. The story is confusing for the first half of the movie, but it does come together at about the halfway point. Both Christopher Lee and Richard Widmark give excellent performances, though it takes some getting used to Widmark’s distinctly American accent in this context. Oddly enough, it doesn’t feel like a Hammer film, though it is interesting to speculate what the studio’s product would have been like if this had not been their last production. It’s biggest problem is a very weak ending, which apparently was not the original one in the script; the original ending was shot, but none of the footage survives. I find it rather hard to believe that Olivia Newton-John was also in consideration for the role played by Nastassja Kinski here. All in all, I found the movie quite interesting, and sometimes quite grotesque.

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