The story is romantic legend and the theme is classic morality, about two damned souls who return to earth to corrupt the human race, but remain long enough for one to be saved by a girl's love.

The story is romantic legend and the theme is classic morality, about two damned souls who return to earth to corrupt the human race, but remain long enough for one to be saved by a girl’s love.

Film’s story is based on an old French legend. It is a sort of love-conquers-all version of the Good-versus-Evil theme, but isn’t too well pointed or paced in the script. The early scenes, in which the two Devil’s disciples arrive at the castle in time to entertain the banquet guests and presently disrupt the household, are promising. Some of the Devil’s later scenes are amusing, too. But the yarn itself is slow and the direction further retards it. Technically, the picture is about average for a French-made.

Arletty plays an enigmatic femme fatale, handling the assignment with skill and poise. Jules Berry, as Satan, gives a standout performance, revealing excellent range, flexibility and personal impact. The others are less notable, though Alain Cuny is acceptable as the lost soul saved by a girl’s devotion, and Marie Dea is dramatically satisfactory as the mortal heroine.

The Devil's Envoys

France

Production

Superfilm. Director Marcel Carne; Producer Andre Paulve; Screenplay Jacques Prevert, Pierre Laroche; Camera Roger Hubert; Editor Henri Rust; Music Maurice Thiriet, Joseph Kosma; Art Director Alexandre Trauner, Georges Wakhevitch

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1942. Running time: 118 MIN.

With

Arletty Jules Berry Marie Dea Fernand Ledoux Alain Cuny Gabriel Gabrio
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more