Janet Bergstrom

Beta SP. D.: 40’. Bn & Col. Basato su / Based on: “4 Devils”, USA 1928, Regia: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau; Scen.: Berthold Viertel, Carl Mayer (non accr.), Marion Orth (non accr.), dal romanzo “De fire Djævle” di Herman Bang; F.: Ernest Palmer, Paul Ivano (non accr.), L.W. O’Connell (non accr.); Scgf: Robert Herlth, Walter Röhrig; M.: Harold Schuster; Int.: Prima parte / Part One: J. Farrell McDonald (il clown), Anders Randolf (Cecchi), Jack Parker (Charles), Philippe de Lacy (Adolf), Dawn O’Day (Marion), Anita Fremault (Louise); Seconda parte / Part Two: Janet Gaynor (Marion), Charles Morton (Charles), Nancy Drexel (Louise), Barry Norton (Adolf), Mary Duncan (la Signora); Prod.: Fox Film Corporation

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

4 Devils is one of the most famous “lost films” of all time. A circus film set in Paris, it was German director F.W. Murnau’s follow-up to his American debut, the masterpiece Sunrise. As far as we know, not even a minute of the intriguing 4 Devils has been seen for many decades – neither the silent version that premiered in October 1928 nor the part-talking version with a different ending that opened in June 1929 (shot after Murnau had left Fox for Tahiti with Robert Flaherty to make Tabu). Although we are not able to see the film itself, this audio-visual essay presents rich materials documenting its production and reception – photographs, drawings, script excerpts, architectural plans, programs, responses to preview questionnaires, memoirs and elements from circus history’s famed trapeze artist Alfredo Codona, who performed his dangerous triple somersault as a stunt double and worked with Murnau’s actors. These traces help bring us closer to the world of the film and to Murnau’s experience.

Janet Bergstrom

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