Alone With the Devil (1914)

aka Expressens Mysterium
Article 4316 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 9-24-2013
Directed by Hjalmar Davidsen
Featuring Svend Aggerholm, Philip Bech, Moritz Bielawski
Country: Denmark
What it is: Weird melodrama

An industrialist finds himself a victim of the machinations of an arch-rival who will stop at nothing to destroy him… even if it costs the arch-rival his own life.

This movie ended up on my hunt list on the strength of the fact that the arch-rival was a hypnotist who kept the industrialist’s wife under his power. When I was unable to find the movie, it moved to my “ones that got away” list, but I’m happy to say that a copy finally showed up, and the person who passed it on to me was kind enough to add English intertitles to help me follow the story, which would have been impenetrable without them. I have to admit that the basic premise is intriguing; the fact that the arch-rival is so intent on destroying the industrialist that he’s willing to commit suicide in such a way that it looks like the industrialist committed murder makes for a fascinating obsession. Unfortunately, the story that surrounds the premise is badly contrived, and the climax of the movie (in which the industrialist’s chances of being cleared is dependent on the discovery of a missing ring) is handled so blandly and flatly that it fails to generate a modicum of suspense. The movie is interesting, but ultimately it’s unsatisfying.


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