Dante’s Inferno


Dispatch.ist status:

We’ve flipped through this one. There’s a great dance scene. Will watch again in more detail. 


A mechanic takes over management of an Inferno-themed amusement park attraction. It’s wildly sucessful, but dangerous, with a fatal collapse as the denoument. The protagonist’s deception is the sin that might drag him to hell, but the movie ends ambiguously.


Available in its entirety on Youtube. It’s a bit of a slow period piece, consider jumping ahead to Satan’s big reveal.  It’s for the ladies, really. High point: Very famous actor Spencer Tracy as the lead, five years into his acting career. The film is well-known for its images of hell (above), which are occasionally blamed on the 1911 Italian film, but are original to this movie.


This one’s due for a re-watch before we do a meaningful review. It’s not great, a 30-minute story stretched thin with a redemption arc that doesn’t quite arc. Honestly, it feels like an exploitation film, but without enough lurid sensation.


“Makes reference to the original.” This is fundamentally a movie in the style of the exploitation film, and occasionally nods to Dante or indeed to the concept of Hell at all, but it feels like this is more of a cross-marketing campaign than a major part of the film.


Not great except as a period film. If you’re a fan of the B&W era then you may enjoy it, but you’re probably better off watching the fun sequences around 26:33 to 35:00 and the “come to Jesus” at 49:48, and calling it good. – Jacob

Dante's Inferno (1935) Drama | 89min | 23 August 1935 (USA) 6.6
Director: Harry LachmanWriter: Philip Klein, Robert YostStars: Spencer Tracy, Claire Trevor, Henry B. WalthallSummary: Jim Carter moves in on the McWade's carnival concession which shows scenes from Dante's "Inferno". He makes it a going concern, marrying Betty along the way. An inspector calls the amusement pier unsafe but Carter bribes him. The pier collapses, leading to the inspector's suicide, injury to Pop McWade, trial for Carter, and Betty's leaving him. Carter starts over with an unsafe floating casino. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>


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