Dante’s Inferno (1924)
Article 5562 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Henry Otto
Featuring Ralph Lewis, Winifred Landis, William Scott
What it is: Dante’s poem… sort of
A heartless slumlord is put under a curse and reads the first book of Dante’s trilogy.
The appeal of filming “Dante’s Inferno” is the opportunity to present visions of hell. The down side is that there really isn’t much in the way of a story, and what there is requires a strong knowledge of history. Maybe that’s why, of the three versions I’ve seen, only the 1911 Italian version is a straight take on the tale; this one and the 1935 version have modern day framing stories to surround the visions of hell. The 1935 version at least had a fairly elaborate and interesting framing story; this one is little more than an “A Christmas Carol” clone involving the reformation of a scoundrel. That pretty much leaves the visions of hell as the main attraction, but the print I saw wasn’t in good enough condition to really see much in the way of detail. At any rate, this is easily the weakest of the three versions.