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directed by Harry Lachman
USA 1935

 

"Dante's Inferno" (1935) is a taut drama starring Spencer Tracy as a ruthless promoter who's determined to succeed, no matter who gets in his way. Eventually he gets a glimpse of Hell and sees the error of his ways ... but is it too late for him to repair all the damage he's done to other people's lives?

This film was inspired by (but is not a remake of) a 1924 film with the same title: both films have the same premise but very different plotlines.

We first see Tracy's character Jim Carter on the bottom rung: the Depression is on, and Carter is so desperate he takes a job as a blackface performer. Then he gets a job in a carnival attraction which offers the customers a quick ride through Hell (made of papier-mache).

There's a brilliant performance by Alan Dinehart, one of those great supporting actors from Hollywood's golden age. Dinehart specialised in playing sharp guys on the edge of the law (or slightly beyond it), and this is one of Dinehart's best roles. Henry Walthall, the silent-film star, is also excellent here.

The standout sequence in the film begins when Tracy is in hospital, recovering from injuries. Walthall brings him a copy of Dante's "Inferno", and proceeds to describe the horrible fates awaiting sinners in the afterworld. On screen, we see a series of stark tableaux in which naked men and women suffer eternal torments in Hell ... dodging flames, writhing in chains, turning into trees. For some reason, all the naked people in Hell have gorgeous physiques: apparently Hell doesn't take any chubsters.

Excerpt of review from F Gwynplaine MacIntyre for imdb.com located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 31 July 1935 (New York City, NY)

Reviews                                                   More Reviews                                                 DVD Reviews

DVD Review: 20th Century Fox (Fox Cinema Archives) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

20th Century Fox

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:28:45
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital Mono 2.0
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: March 18th, 2014
Keepcase

Chapters 9

 

Comments

Being released in 1935, Dante's Inferno is a curio post-code production that still have some pre-code sensibilities in handling the issue of damnation and hell. The film features some memorable production numbers - the opening of the carnival attraction Dante's Hell, a disaster on a cruise liner and, most of all, the show-stopping sequence of hell. Beyond those sequences, we also get a great cast - Spencer Tracy before he left Fox for MGM, Claire Trevor, Henry Walthall, Alan Dinehart and an early role for Rita Cansino, later known all over the world as Rita Hayworth. Even though Spencer Tracy later called the film "one of the worst pictures ever made anywhere, anytime," time has been kind to it and despite some melodramatic sentiment and blackface sequence, it's worth seeking out.

Fox recently made the film available on a made-on-demand disc. The transfer is decent - there is very little damage, though there is some haze and excessive grain that blends well with some of the footage from 1924 film of the same name used in the hell sequence. The mono audio has some noise, but overall is acceptable; there are no subtitles or captions provided per usual standard. There are no extras provided on the disc though some outtakes of Rita Hayworth exist and are available in 2003 documentary Rita.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


DVD Menu
 

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

20th Century Fox

Region 0 - NTSC


 




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