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After D W Griffith made "Intolerance" in 1916, weaving together four main periods of history with a common theme, Denmark's leading director, Carl Theodor Dreyer, was inspired to make a similar dramatic film, and considering that "Leaves from Satan's Book" was only his second film, it was a splendid achievement. Unlike "Intolerance", Dreyer tells each historic episode from beginning to end, probably making it less confusing and easier watching for many viewers. Dreyer's common theme is betrayal, and the focus is on Satan who has been doomed to mislead mankind into evil doings, and who takes the form of a person in each historic period in order to accomplish his work. For instance, in the first story set in the last days of Christ, Satan appears in the guise of a Pharisee who tempts and misleads Judas into his infamous act of betrayal, and then continues to play pivotal roles in misleading mere mortals into acts of betrayal throughout history: the second setting being Spain during the Inquisition, then the French Revolution and finally a little-known (to most of us, anyway) conflict in Communist Russian-occupied Finland of 1918, which was no doubt close to the hearts of many Scandinavians at the time this film was made in the years 1918-1920.

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ID5671 Leaves from Satan's Book DVD (1920/Carl Theodor Dreyer) $24.99