The Beauty of the Devil is a serio-comic approach to the classic German fable of “Faust,” utilizing French filmmaker René Clair’s tendency to make films with socio/political satirical humor at the expense of upper class mores. Focusing on the humor rather than the tragedy, The Beauty of the Devil allows for a lighter approach to the tale while still remaining true to it. The performances take front seat in importance over any type of stylistic approach to the fantasy elements of a deal with the devil.
When a well-respected professor of alchemy finds himself nearing the end of life without accomplishing the task he has been working on for much of his life, the temptation for a chance at youth is too great for Professor Faust (Michel Simon) to resist. The devil (Gérard Philipe) appears with a deal to give the professor everything he has wanted, including youth and the chance to finish his goal of creating gold, with his soul demanded in exchange. Faust is given a young new body, while the devil takes his own, leading to a series of tricks and manipulations.
This black-and-white classic from 1950 has been transferred to high definition Blu-ray, cleaning up the image from as much debris and scratches as possible. The Blu-ray disc also includes a documentary featurette from 2010 and a trailer gallery.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8.5/10
Historical Significance: 8/10
Disc Features: 6/10