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Carnival of Sinners (1943)

La main du diable (original title)
Approved | | Fantasy, Horror | 7 April 1947 (USA)
Roland Brissot bought for a nickel a talisman that gives him love, fame and wealth. The talisman is a cut left hand, and it works perfectly. But of course there is nothing free in this ... See full summary »

Director:

Maurice Tourneur

Writers:

Jean-Paul Le Chanois (screenplay), Gérard de Nerval (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Pierre Fresnay ... Roland Brissot
Josseline Gaël ... Irène
Noël Roquevert ... Mélisse
Guillaume de Sax Guillaume de Sax ... Gibelin
Palau ... Le petit homme
Pierre Larquey ... Ange
André Gabriello André Gabriello ... Le dîneur (as Gabriello)
Antoine Balpêtré Antoine Balpêtré ... Denis
Marcelle Rexiane Marcelle Rexiane ... Madame Denis (as Rexiane)
André Varennes André Varennes ... Le colonel
Georges Chamarat Georges Chamarat ... Duval
Jean Davy Jean Davy ... Le mousquetaire
Jean Despeaux Jean Despeaux ... Le boxeur
Edit

Storyline

Roland Brissot bought for a nickel a talisman that gives him love, fame and wealth. The talisman is a cut left hand, and it works perfectly. But of course there is nothing free in this world, and after one year the devil comes and asks for his due... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It will hold you spellbound with its story of a man who sells his soul...for a woman's love...only to be haunted by the hidden secret of 7 generations

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

7 April 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Carnival of Sinners See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Continental Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Wide Range Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Futurama: The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Date with the Devil
2 February 2012 | by EdgarSTSee all my reviews

A few years ago I was attracted to the work of French filmmaker Maurice Tourneur, after reading his IMDb profile. I already knew that his film «La main du diable» had a cult following, and that he was the father of Jacques Tourneur, the famous director of «Cat People», «I Walked with a Zombie» and «Out of the Past»; but I had no idea of his own prestige and importance in the history of cinema. During the silent film period, Maurice Tourneur was as popular as David W. Griffith and Thomas Harper Ince in Hollywood, and his movies had a strong influence due to their visual design refinement. I am yet to see his version of James Fenimore Cooper's «Last of the Mohicans» (1920), selected to the National Film Registry by the US Congress, but I have already seen his adaptations of Maurice Maeterlinck's «The Blue Bird» (also selected to the National Film Registry), and Joseph Conrad's «Victory» (1919). I have just finished watching «La main du diable», a French production made during the last stage of his career, when Tourneur returned to France, tired of the commercialism of the Hollywood films. Connections are often made between Nazi occupation in France and certain films that are or seem to be allegories of this state, as Carné's «Les visiteurs du soir» (1942), or Clouzot's «Le corbeau» (1943), so I would not be surprised if there is an essay linking «La main du diable» to Nazi presence in French territory. If it's true that this reading is possible, the film is fascinating if one takes it as it is, a moral tale with elements of fantasy and subtle horror: in an Alpine hotel, the dull confinement of a group of travelers that are trapped by an avalanche, brightens up with the sudden arrival of a nervous man, with a stump and a small box under his arm. After the box is stolen during a blackout, the travelers become a captive audience (as we, the spectators), listening to the man as he tell his story, from being a luckless painter, to buying a sinister talisman that brings him fame, love and fortune, and being cheated by the devil. The story of course is similar to other cinematic pacts with the devil, as those made by Faust, the Prague student, Jabez Stone in «The Devil and Daniel Webster», the phantom of the Paradise, the investigator in «Angel Heart» or the young lawyer in «The Devil's Advocate», among others. But Tourneur, as Murnau in his «Faust», fascinates us with his visual reading of Gérard Nerval's novel, and creates a glowing monochromatic world of oblique lines, shadows, masks, and an affable little devil, played by a smiling old man who, behind the appearance of a helpless civil servant, hides his treacherous essence. The film is a well-mounted clockwork that reaches its expected conclusion with the same punctuality the devil demands of his creditors. If by chance it crosses your path, don't miss «La main du diable», a work that only asks for 78 minutes of your time.


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