- SKU: 9022158
- Release Date: 10/16/2001
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- New digital, speed-corrected transfer of the Swedish Film Institute's tinted restoration
- Music from the original Danish premiere, arranged by film music specialist Gillian Anderson and performed by the Czech Film Orchestra, presented in Dolby Digital 5.0
- Commentary by Danish silent film scholar Casper Tybjerg
- Benjamin Christensen's introduction to the 1941 re-release
- A short selection of outtakes
- Bibliothèque Diabolique, a photographic exploration of Christensen's historical sources
- Stills gallery
- New English translation of intertitles
- "Witchcraft Through the Ages : the 76-minute version of Häxan, narrated by William S. Burroughs, with a soundtrack featuring Jean-Luc Ponty
- English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
- Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition
Danish filmmaker Benjamin Christensen's obsession with bizarre lighting effects reached its apotheosis with his 1922 masterpiece Häxan. Beginning in a deceptively sedate fashion with a series of woodcuts and engravings (a technique later adopted by RKO producer Val Lewton), the film then shifts into gear with a progression of dramatic vignettes, illustrating the awesome power of witchcraft in the Middle Ages. So powerful are some of these images that even some modern viewers will avert their eyes from the screen. Though obviously a work of pure imagination, the film occasionally takes on the dimensions of a documentary, a byproduct of the extensive research done by Christensen before embarking on the project (incidentally, the director himself can be seen in the film in a dual role as Satan and the Doctor). Häxan marked a parting of the ways for Christensen and the Danish film industry; thereafter, he confined his activities to the German cinema, before answering Hollywood's call in 1928. A separate version of this film exists, with a shorter running time, retitled Witchcraft Through the Ages and released in 1968. It features narration by the legendary Beat writer William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch) and a score by Jean-Luc Ponty. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Benjamin Christensen - Doctor, Satan
- Clara Pontoppidan - Nun
- Astrid Holm - Anna
- Oscar Stribolt - A Doctor