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Thirteen Cantos of Hell (1955)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Canto I: The Dark Wood. Dante is lost in a thick forest, eventually encountering Virgil, who will be his guide.

Canto II; The Gates of Hell. Virgil leads Dante to an elaborately decorated stone arch, and the two pass through it.

Canto III: The Pit. Tortured souls of various species float around them.

Canto IV. The Futile. Dante and Virgil encounter various groups, who wave banners in support of something incomprehensible.

Canto V. The Boat of the Dead. Surrounded by floating objects, Dante and Virgil watch them being gathered up by the ferryman and taken away. The ground splits, and large shapes emerge from it. The boat reaches its destination and the objects emerge. Dante looks at Virgil and makes a despairing gesture.

Canto VI. Minos in Judgement. Sitting on his throne, Minos examines the objects brought to him by the ferryman.

Canto VII. The Philosophers. Various humanoid figures conduct an endless debate as Dante and Virgil walk past.

Canto VIII. The Lovers. Various creatures float in the sky which on closer examination prove to be entwined couples. Dante talks to one of them, but they are too engrossed in each other to offer much assistance.

Canto IX. The Wrathful. A vicious creature roams the landscape in the pouring rain, biting and otherwise subjugating smaller creatures, though it is in turn defeated by Dante.

Canto X. The River Styx. Dante and Virgil approach the river Styx. The ferryman spots them and lets them board his vessel. They cross the river to an elaborately decorated building, above which three female figures float and conduct some kind of argument. They surround Dante and Virgil.

Canto XI. The Burning Tombs. Dante and Virgil walk amongst tombs, each emitting a single large flame.

Canto XII. The River of Blood. Dante and Virgil encounter various centaur-like creatures, one of whom leads them past a large mass of liquid.

Canto XIII. The Wood of Suicides. Assorted humanoid figures are chased by vicious snapping creatures. A large bat-like creature flies past Dante and Virgil. The souls of the suicides descend and sprout trees, which themselves take on humanoid form. Dante picks up discarded leaves and puts them back on one of the branches.