The Student of Prague (1913 film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Student of Prague (Der Student von Prag, also known as A Bargain with Satan) is a 1913 German silent horror film. The film was remade in 1926, under the same title The Student of Prague. Other remakes were produced in 1935 and 2004. It is generally deemed to be the first independent film in history.

Screenwriter Hans Heinz Ewers also draws heavily from French writer Alfred de Musset’s narrative poem "The December Night." Quotations from the poem form both the film’s epigraph and its postscript, placing strong emphasis on the doppelgänger and devil thematics.[1]

Plot

A poor student rescues a beautiful countess and soon becomes obsessed with her. A sorcerer makes a deal with the young man to give him fabulous wealth and anything he wants, if he will sign his name to a contract (i.e. make a Deal with the Devil). The student hurriedly signs the contract, but doesn't know what he's in for.

A long plot summary is given by psychologist Otto Rank in The Double (1971; originally "Der Doppelgänger" in Imago III.2, 1914, 97-164).

The film is referenced in the detective story "The Image in the Mirror" by Dorothy Sayers, in which Lord Peter Wimsey helps clear Mr. Duckworthy, a man wrongly suspected of murder. Among other things Duckworthy tells:

"When I was seven or eight, my mother took me with her to see a film called "The Student of Prague".(...) It was a costume piece about a young man at the university who sold himself to the devil, and one day his reflection came stalking out of the mirror on its own, and went about committing dreadful crimes, so that everybody thought it was him."

(In the story, Mr. Duckworthy had what seemed a similar experience - but Wimsey eventually proves that it had a rational explanation involving no supernatural agency).

Cast




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Student of Prague (1913 film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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