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