Leaves From Satan's Book

Carl Theodor Dreyer's second feature, made in Denmark in 1919, doesn't rank with his later masterpieces—The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr, Day of Wrath, and Gertrud—but it does elaborate on some of his favorite preoccupations: intolerance, solitude, the supernatural. Told as a loose imitation of Griffith's Intolerance, the film follows the adventures of the devil as he turns up as a Pharisee, as the grand inquisitor in 16th-century Spain, as a revolutionary in Paris of 1793, and as a defrocked red monk in the Finnish civil war of 1918. The film is overdirected and, paradoxically, underdeveloped, but it does feature some marvelous, dazzling imagery by ace cinematographer George Schneevoight. 116 min.

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