19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To the Devil a glove puppet
Occult novelist John Verney(Richard Widmark) is asked by his friend Harry Beddowes(Denholm Elliot) to look after his daughter Catherine whilst she's in London. What Verney does not know is that a group of Satanists lead by the excommunicated priest Father Michael(Christopher Lee) are desperate to get their hands on Catherine as she is required for a hideous ritual to...
Published on 27 Oct 2008 by Mr. Jonathon T. Beckett
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ken Russell's not the only one...
...to have a thing about nuns, as this Hammer outing starring pouty Nastassia Kinski proves. To the Devil A Daughter is not the best film Hammer ever made, but still a good showing. You can see the potential for brilliance with wonderful grey areas, but sadly it never quite happens. An abrupt and 'pat' ending doesn't help, but Lee is marvellous as always as the imposing...
Published on 11 Aug 2001 by Sandy
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To the Devil a glove puppet,
Occult novelist John Verney(Richard Widmark) is asked by his friend Harry Beddowes(Denholm Elliot) to look after his daughter Catherine whilst she's in London. What Verney does not know is that a group of Satanists lead by the excommunicated priest Father Michael(Christopher Lee) are desperate to get their hands on Catherine as she is required for a hideous ritual to bring the demon Azaroth back into the world. Soon Verney and his friends are fighting for their lives.
This film, Hammer's last feature length horror, is an excellent adaptation of Dennis Wheatley's novel. It is very tense and quite frightening in places, especially as the forces of evil do have the upper hand for most of the film. Richard Widmark as Verney is terrific, maybe an unlikely choice for many, but he is entirely credible as he begins to understand what a dangerous situation he finds himself in. Christopher Lee is gives a sinister, underplayed performance as the very dangerous Father Michael.
There are a couple of reasons that stop this film from being a classic, the hand puppet emmissary of evil, and a terribly rushed garish ending. Apart from those quibbles, its a very fine film, and it really is a shame that Hammer concentrated solely on television output after this.
A flawed classic. 4 out of 5
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The end of Hammer,
Having just seen this for the first time I was surprised at just how good it was. Whether those involved realised that it would be the last ever Hammer film I don't know, but it seemed as though a bit more effort was made with this.
Firstly as the previous reviewer stated its an excellent cast and unlike the later Dracula films Christopher Lee has a proper role which makes good use of his screen presence and unique voice. Denholm Elliot is also very good and the rest of the cast do a fine job. In many ways TTDAD resembles 'The Devil Rides Out' because it is also based on a Dennis Wheatley story, but I think the overriding influence was probably Hammers attempt to cash in on the success of the Exorcist and The Omen.
As for the previous reviewers comment about the violence being unacceptable I'm afraid I can't rationally explain this. There is only one scene which can possibly be considered for this and nothing is shown, you only see the after effects (and this is just tomato ketchup). There is a little bit of nudity, but in terms of violence there is nothing here to upset the regular horror film fan. By comparison to a lot of modern horror films this is a restrained and subtle affair.
So overall an enjoyable film which was a fine swan song for Hammer.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ken Russell's not the only one...,
This review is from: To the Devil a Daughter [VHS]  (VHS Tape)
...to have a thing about nuns, as this Hammer outing starring pouty Nastassia Kinski proves. To the Devil A Daughter is not the best film Hammer ever made, but still a good showing. You can see the potential for brilliance with wonderful grey areas, but sadly it never quite happens. An abrupt and 'pat' ending doesn't help, but Lee is marvellous as always as the imposing and very naughty (alright, evil) Reverend. Nastassia Kinski's turn as the teenage nun is very wide-eyed and soft-voiced, but that's a good thing. There are some genuinely disturbing moments, particularly the flashback to the climatic 'ritual' sequence in which she is promised to the cult's god. Could have been better, but still a quirky, menacing film that more than deserves a look.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give it a chance.,
I went many years ago with my Grandmother to see this film at the local cinema.I just had to add it to my collection and was very pleased that it has passed the passing years with flying colours.At the time the film suffered from too much agro.See it again and get to like it again like i did.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing,
"To the Devil a Daughter" is a late Hammer movie, coproduced with a German production company. The plot involves a satanic priest (Christopher Lee) who is after young Catherine (Nastassja Kinski), who is under the protection of John Verney (Richard Widmark), author of occult books. The story is promising and the movie is, for the most part, well directed but the script just isnt't very good, and the ending is just ridiculous. Much of the cast deliver routine performances. The best performances are from supporting actors Honor Blackman, Denholm Elliott and Anthony Valentine. 2,5-3 stars.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An anti-climactic swansong for Hammer horror,
This review is from: To the Devil a Daughter [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
To the Devil a Daughter was Hammer's last horror film, but it makes for a less than grand slice of guignol and pales in comparison to their earlier Dennis Wheatley adaptation, The Devil Rides Out. Richard Widmark is the imported American star battling Christopher Lee's Satanist while trying to protect Nastassja Kinski from becoming host to a demon, but despite a few good scenes the film never really makes much of its premise and the ending is one of the biggest anticlimaxes in the history of horror.
The best part of it is the excellent documentary on Anchor Bay's Region 1 NTSC DVD, which is surprisingly frank about the film's shortcomings - including that non-ending - and Richard Widmark's tantrums on the set. Anchor Bay's transfer is also surprisingly good: unlike the cold and slightly shoddy looking TV prints, this really does David Watkins' cinematography a great service.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars In like a lion and out like a lamb; Hammer horror, 1955 - 1976...,
According to most reference books and fan reviews, To the Devil a Daughter, the very last horror film in the original Hammer cycle, is a terrible movie; badly paced and scripted, featuring a charisma-free turn from disinterested lead Richard Widmark, and filled with distasteful plot developments and stomach-churning gore effects, the film is supposedly the complete antithesis of the traditional Hammer style, and nothing but a low-rent rip-off of Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist. Presented with such a comprehensive slating of the film from every conceivable source, I deliberately avoided seeing it for years, despite being a Hammer enthusiast. And whilst this view of the movie is not entirely unfounded, it must be noted that for the bulk of its running time, To the Devil a Daughter is nowhere near as bad or as objectionable as I had been led to believe.
Apparently a very loose adaptation of Dennis Wheatley's 1953 novel, Peter Sykes' film was deliberately fashioned by Hammer as an effort to update their formula in line with more popular 1970s' tastes and horror film styles (so exactly why they went to the out-of-fashion Wheatley for inspiration is unclear). Gone are the cosy inns and aristocratic vampires of Hammer's fantasy-based golden age, and in their place we are presented with a contemporary setting, a group of lusty Devil-worshippers, and several bloody deaths. Widmark plays an occult novelist who gets mixed up with a coven headed by defrocked priest Christopher Lee, and specifically with novice nun Nastassja Kinski. For the first hour, the film trots along agreeably enough as an interesting mystery (though Christopher Wicking's script is, as is usual for him, far from clear about what is actually going on), whilst both Widmark and Lee are reasonably effective in their roles (Lee in particular displays some of the calmly detached menace he brought to his rather similar character in The Wicker Man). The film is much less graphically explicit than most other films from this period based around a 'possession' theme (such as Ken Russell's notorious The Devils); the only really alarming things about it are the bizarre `demon' baby that somehow features in Lee's plan (this is on grounds of taste of course, but also because it is so obviously a pathetically unrealistic rubber glove puppet), and the ludicrously anti-climactic non-ending, which crams an entire movie's worth of exposition into about four sentences, and then sees the villainous Lee defeated by being bashed on the head with a rock.
Wheatley, who presumably wanted Hammer to do justice to his story the same way they made the most of The Devil Rides Out in 1967, hated the film because of its supposed excess of sex and gore, and apparently swore that he would never again allow them to adapt one of his books; however, his threat was somewhat redundant because by 1976, when To the Devil a Daughter was released (to box office indifference), Hammer were a spent force. Creatively and financially exhausted, this half-baked attempt to `get with the times' was too little, too late for the famous company, and they ceased operations just a couple of years later. Sadly, the firm followed Dennis Wheatley to the grave; he died aged 80 in 1977.
5.0 out of 5 stars To the Devil A Daughter,
Fantastic Hammer film. Christopher Lee is in majestic form and Richard Widmark gives him a run for his money. Great cast - they don't make them like this anymore.
4.0 out of 5 stars One for the classic horror collector,
I read the book so many years ago and saw the film when it was first released. The book like so many of Wheatlys is fantastic and is one that first piquied my interest in the occult. The film is a reasonable representation of the book. For modern standerds it is a little staid and though I do not usually like remakes it could probably fair much better. So for me I am happy to have purchased the film for my extensive collection but would only recomend it for he classic horror collector or just because you like sombody in the cast etc.
2.0 out of 5 stars Even Christopher Lee showing his butt couldn't save this film - which is a pity, because it had potential...,
I was disappointed with this film, one of the last produced by Hammer in the 70s, before its entering in hibernation in 1979. Below, some more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.
Adapted from a novel by Dennis Wheatley (author of many occult novels, including the famous "The devil rides out", also adapted by Hammer) this film gathered together quite an ensemble casting. Christopher Lee is of course the main attraction, but Richard Widmark, aged but still valiant is also an asset. Young Nastassja Kinski is a very pleasant damsel in distress - it was only her second role, six years before her big break in "Tess". Denholm Elliott (later wordly famous for his appearances in "Indiana Jones" franchise) is very good indeed. Last but not least, we have Honor Blackman, one of the greatest actresses ever - and if you think this statement is exaggerated, please try to say "My name is Pussy Galore" with a straight face and we will see if you do not change your mind...)))
Made the same year as the terrifying (and much, much better) "Omen", this movie tried to get on the train of fascination with occult, started three years earlier by the already legendary "Exorcist" (also an infinitely better film). Sadly, it mostly failed, because of the poor scenario. This film is not scary. AT ALL. The story is very predictable and even good actors mostly go through the motions. The only one who is really allowed to give an effort is Denholm Elliott, who shows really well how terrified can be a man who saw hell and is desperately trying not to see it again... There is a kind of grotesque creature appearing at one moment, but far from being scary, it is a mixture of obscene, gross, cute and ridiculous... The ending is pretty lame. Finally, there is also one absolutely unnecessary scene in which a newborn baby is murdered in a very, VERY explicit scene and I absolutely hated that one.
Novel's author Dennis Wheatley, who was still alive then (he died next year, at the respectable age of 80), HATED this film and made it clear to Hammer directors, that he will make it certain that they never, EVER can adapt any of his books again.
In this film there is much more nudity than in other Hammer productions, but it really didn't add much to the story. OK, granted, this is the only film in which we can see Christopher's Lee naked posterior and he indeed had a quite good butt for such a professional bad@ss...))) On this subject - some sources claim that this bum belonged to a stunt - but still I think Christopher Lee can claim it by right of major@ss...)))
Nastassja Kinski who begins the film as a nun, makes later a full frontal, which was considered quite scandalous, as she was 15 at the time... And then, there is a completely unnecessary and rather not very appealing scene of a black mass with quite a lot of intercourse shown... But frankly, there is hardly anything very exciting here.
The only reason why I give this film two stars instead of one is of course Christopher Lee, who is simply grandiose as a renegade priest of Anglican (or maybe Catholic) Church. The scene of his excommunication is possibly the best in the film and honestly, I can fully understand why Christopher Lee would be excommunicated (even his face would be reason enough) - the thing I simply can not understand is who could ever let him in to the first year of seminary...)))
Bottom line, this is a rather bad, disappointing film. Only for the most devoted fans of Christopher Lee or Hammer films - otherwise, stay away from this and re-watch "Omen" or "Exorcist" again.
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To the Devil a Daughter [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] by Peter Sykes (DVD - 2002)