The Hell in Danger

Béla Balogh , 1921. Bizarre satire in which the devil Beelzebub works to regain his lost horns.

Premiere: 23 August 1921 (press-view, Uránia), 19 November 1921 (premiere, Kamara)
Genre: feature film, fantasy, silent film
Director: Béla Balogh

Original length: 6 acts, 2146 m
Lost film.

Beelzebub is unable to resist the charms of a lady here on Earth and he kisses her. As a consequence of this kiss, he loses his horns. Underworld scientists suggest that if he wants to have new horns, he should travel to Earth and marry. He accepts the advice and sets off. He likes Aurora, who is in love with a young writer, Harry, but her mother makes marriage conditional on the success of the writer’s play. Devilish meddling results in the play being a flop and thus the enormously rich Beelzebub will get the girl. He then does everything possible to get his wife to cheat on him with Harry, who has been taken on as a secretary, but the pure-minded woman cannot be led astray. Beelzebub’s time is up so he returns to hell, but without horns he cannot be a prince of darkness. He is about to return to his beautiful wife when suddenly his horns grow, signalling that Harry and Aurora have become a couple. There on his forehead are once again the essential signs of his devilish reign so that Hell can again operate at full speed. Frustrated, Beelzebub takes his place on the throne.

What makes it interesting?
This bizarre satire features the most popular actors of the day including Vilma Bánky who went on to enjoy a career in Hollywood. Scenes shot in hell had special technical requirements; uniquely for the period, these scenes were filmed at night. The movie was part-financed by Jenő Gárdos, who later distributed the work in the US.

Cast & Crew
Production Companies: Star Filmgyár és Filmkereskedelmi Rt.
Screenwriter: Mihály Boross
Cast: Vilma Bánky (Aurora), Erzsi Kürti (Démon), Gyula Margittay, Szvetiszláv Petrovich (Harry), Aladár Sarkadi (Jónás), Károly Sugár (Belzebub), Gusztáv Vándory (Józanész)

International Distribution
Austria (Die Hölle in Gefahrt)
Germany (Lauen des Satans)