La Beauté du Diable (Beauty and the Devil) (1950)

La Beauté du Diable (Beauty and the Devil)


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Movie Info

La Beaute du Diable came into being when French filmmaker Rene Clair became fascinated with a structural defect in the "Faust" legend. Clair felt that the beginning and end of the story was perfect, but the middle section, wherein the title character blasphemes the Pope, was "silly." The director also wondered what would happen if, instead of forcing Faust to sign his soul away in exchange for happiness and knowledge, the Devil were to ask for nothing, and simply assume that Faust would sign the … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: René Clair, Armand Salacrou
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 25, 1995


as Faust as an old man;...

as Young Henri Faust

as Marguerite

as The Princess

as The Prince

as Official
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for La Beauté du Diable (Beauty and the Devil)

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (4)

Essential movieness.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

A prime example of intellectual kitsch.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | October 31, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

June 12, 2005

Full Review… | October 28, 2003

Audience Reviews for La Beauté du Diable (Beauty and the Devil)

Despite his being honored for his long and glorious academic career by his peers, Professor Henri Faust(Michel Simon) is not enjoying the celebration in the least, what with the horror of old age and not having completed his life's work. And that's where Mephistopheles(Gerard Philipe) comes in, as he has an offer for Faust to reclaim his lost youth in exchange for his soul. But he is not biting. So, Mephistopheles gives him a free sample. Now young and handsome, Henri ironically does not have any money to pay for dinner for Marguerite(Nicole Besnard) and her friends, and goes back to his former apartment where he is arrested for theft and murder...

Over time the story of Faust has been reduced to little more than a metaphor(and one which can be currently applied to certain political leaders), so it's nice to finally to see a spirited adaptation like "La Beaute du Diable" that is elevated by the excellent tandem acting of its leads. While the movie proves once and for all that there is no such thing as a free lunch, as more than one character is done in by greed, this version is as much a product of the time just after World War II it was made as much as anything else, and not in a bad way, either. So, not only does it show what can be done with smoke and mirrors, but out of that, we get references to the war's weapons of mass destruction, along with the stated theme of man's hell being worse than god's.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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