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Beauty and the Devil (1950)

La beauté du diable (original title)
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The Faust story retold, with an aged alchemist accepting the gift of renewed youth from the devilish Mephistopheles.

Director:

René Clair

Writers:

René Clair (screenplay and dialogue), Armand Salacrou (screenplay and dialogue)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michel Simon ... Mephistopheles / Old Prof. Henri Faust
Gérard Philipe ... Young Henri Faust / Young-Looking Mephistopheles
Nicole Besnard ... Marguerite the Gypsy Girl
Simone Valère ... La Princesse
Carlo Ninchi ... Le Prince
Raymond Cordy ... Antoine the Servant
Tullio Carminati ... Le Diplomate
Paolo Stoppa Paolo Stoppa ... Official
Gaston Modot ... Gypsy
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Storyline

Professor Henri Faust, retiring after 50 years as an alchemist in a circa-1700 university, despairs at still knowing nothing of the true secrets of nature...whereupon his old acquaintance Mephistopheles, servant of Lucifer, appears and grants him youth and a new life. But with youth, Faust's interest is diverted from science to women. And Mephistopheles, who has taken on the guise of the elderly Faust that was, sets many snares for his young friend's slippery soul... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Rene Clair - whose genius has created masterpieces...now brings his magic touch to the screen in a new achievement!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

25 August 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beauty and the Devil See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Connections

Version of Il Mefistofele (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Michel Simon is the reason to watch
17 November 2013 | by zetesSee all my reviews

Good, not great Clair, in my opinion. It's his take off of the Faust legend. I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with the story (and sadly cannot even recall most of the plot of Murnau's Faust to compare it), so I don't know how it changes anything. Michel Simon stars as Professor Faust, an ancient man trying to perfect alchemy. Mephistopholes (played at first by Gerard Philipe) exchanges forms with Simon, allowing Faust to become a young man again. The plot felt a little murky to me, but eventually Faust agrees to stay in the form of Philipe. With the help of Mephistopholes, he figures out how to turn sand into gold and becomes rich and famous. It all comes at a price, though, and Mephistopholes is a tricky demon. The main reason to watch this is Simon. My God, this is one of his best roles ever. He seems so decrepit at the beginning - he was 55 at the time, but you'd swear he was 90 - and then, when Mephistopholes takes his form, he becomes this spry creature. It's truly an amazing performance. Philipe (the star of Fanfan La Tulipe) is quite good, as well. Nicole Besnard isn't much of an actress, but she's very adorable as the young gypsy girl Faust falls for. I thought the twist at the end of the story was quite stupid and too easy (again, it could be straight from the original story, but I don't know).


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