The Sorrows of Satan (1926 film)

The Sorrows of Satan (1926) is a silent film by D. W. Griffith based on the 1895 novel The Sorrows of Satan by Marie Corelli. At this point in his career, Griffith had given up his independent filmmaker status by joining Paramount Pictures.

The Sorrows of Satan
Directed byD.W. Griffith
Written byForrest Halsey
George C. Hull
John Russell
Based onThe Sorrows of Satan
by Marie Corelli
StarringAdolphe Menjou
Ricardo Cortez
Carol Dempster
Lya De Putti
Ivan Lebedeff
Music byHugo Riesenfeld
CinematographyHarry A. Fischbeck
Arthur De Titta
Edited byJulian Johnson
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • October 12, 1926 (1926-10-12)
Running time
111 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles

A previous version of Corelli's novel had been filmed in England in 1917, but that version was not nearly as faithful to the novel as the 1926 remake.[1][2][3] Reportedly Griffith did not want to do this project, but as his first Paramount assignment he was not given a choice. Remarkably, however, the film turned out to be one of Griffith's most fully realized works and its critical stock has risen considerably in the last several decades. After Griffith finished the film, it was taken out of his control and re-edited by Julian Johnson. This was Carol Dempster's final screen role, although she lived until 1991.[4]

A still from the film was used on the cover of the song "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by the English band Bauhaus.[5]


Adolphe MenjouPrince Lucio de Rimanez
Ricardo CortezGeoffrey Tempest
Carol DempsterMavis Claire
Lya De PuttiPrincess Olga
Ivan LebedeffAmiel


Adolphe Menjou stars as Prince Lucio de Rimanez, who is in fact really Satan assuming a human form. When struggling writer Geoffrey Tempest (Ricardo Cortez) is moved to curse God for his misfortunes, Prince Lucio makes a sudden appearance, informing Tempest that he has inherited a fortune. The only proviso is that Tempest must place his fate entirely in the Prince's hands. As he ascends to the uppermost rungs of European society, Tempest is ordered by Lucio to marry Russian Princess Olga (Lya De Putti), even though the writer still loves his sweetheart Mavis Claire (Carol Dempster). Eventually, Prince Lucio reveals his true identity, but not before Olga has committed suicide. After rejecting the devil and all his false promises, Tempest lives happily ever after with Mavis.


This film, like The Queen of Sheba and Ben-Hur, was released in a different edit in Europe due to nudity. The American version of The Sorrows of Satan had Lya de Putti's character play a nightclub scene with enough attire to pass the censors. In the European version, Griffith shot the nightclub scene with de Putti bare breasted.[6]


  1. Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). "Tome of Terror: Horror Films of the Silent Era". Midnight Marquee Press. p. 305. ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.
  2. the Sorrows of Satan 1917 directed by Alexander Butler; silentera database
  3. The Sorrows of Satan 1926 D.W. Griffith; silentera database
  4. Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). "Tome of Terror: Horror Films of the Silent Era". Midnight Marquee Press. p. 305. ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.
  5. "BAUHAUS Exhumed—An Interview with Kevin Haskins". Post Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  6. The Love Goddesses documentary c.1965 narrated by Robert Youngson ...Retrieved April 15, 2018
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