Rapsodia Satanica (1920)

aka Satanic Rhapsody
Article 3959 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-21-2012
Directed by Nino Oxilia
Featuring Lyda Borelli, Andrea Habay, Ugo Bazzini
Country: Italy
What it is: A deal with the devil

An old woman makes a pact with the devil to regain her youth; in return, she must not fall prey to the emotion of love. But that’s harder said than done…

I quite like this efficient little take on the deal with the devil story, at least partially because Ugo Bazzini gives a fun little performance as Mephisto, the devil who makes his offer to the old woman; I like the way he creeps around at the edges of scenes waiting for his opportunities to spread misery and unhappiness. Lyda Borelli also does a good job as the “Faust” character, though it does require quite a bit of sympathy with the silent (as in opposition to talkie) mode of acting, as she does come off as a bit too obvious at times. I like the prologue and the first act the best; the second act seems to be mostly about the main character being depressed, and that gets a bit old after a bit. Nonetheless, this is an interesting silent Italian film.


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