4 Devils

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4 Devils
Janet Gaynor and Charles Morton in 1928 film 4 Devils.jpg
Janet Gaynor and Charles Morton
Directed by F. W. Murnau
Produced by William Fox
Written by Carl Mayer
Based on "Les Quatre Diables"
by Herman Bang
Starring Janet Gaynor
Charles Morton
Mary Duncan
Barry Norton
Music by Ernö Rapée
Lew Pollack
Cinematography L. William O'Connell
Ernest Palmer
Distributed by Fox Film Corporation
Release date
  • October 3, 1928 (1928-10-03) (silent version)
  • June 15, 1929 (1929-06-15) (sound version)
Running time
100 minutes (Sound version)
97 minutes (Silent version)
Country United States
Language Silent film
English intertitles

4 Devils (also known as Four Devils) is a lost 1928 American silent drama film directed by German film director F. W. Murnau and starring Janet Gaynor.[1][2]


The plot concerns four orphans (Janet Gaynor, Nancy Drexel, Barry Norton, and Charles Morton) who become a high wire act, and centers around sinister goings-on at a circus.



4 Devils was released by Fox Film Corporation, and was produced by William Fox, who had hired Murnau to come to the United States. A sound version, incorporating "synchronised sound effects, music and dialogue sequences", was made without Murnau's cooperation.[3]

Preservation status

No copies of either version of the film are known to exist, and 4 Devils remains among the most sought after lost films of the silent era. Details of the movie can be found on the DVD for Sunrise,[3] released by Fox as part of their 20th Century Fox Studio Classics collection.

Film historian and collector William K. Everson stated that the only surviving print was lost by actress Mary Duncan who had borrowed it from Fox Studios.[4] Martin Koerber, curator of Deutsche Kinemathek, is more hopeful, writing that the print was given to Duncan, and that her heirs, if any, may yet have it.[3]

Other adaptations of The Four Devils

The novel by Herman Bang was first adapted into film in 1911[5] by Robert Dinesen and Alfred Lind, and finally in 1985 by Anders Refn.


  1. ^ The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: Four Devils
  2. ^ Four Devils at TheGreatStars.com; Lost Films Wanted(Wayback Machine)
  3. ^ a b c "Lost Films: 4 Devils". Deutsche Kinemathek. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  4. ^ "4 Devils". silentera.com.
  5. ^ "DE FIRE DJÆVLE". Danish Film institute.

External links

  • 4 Devils on IMDb
  • 4 Devils at AllMovie
  • 4 Devils at Virtual History
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