The Devil’s Eye (1960)

devils eye poster 1960 movie ingmar bergman
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Fun to see a Bergman comedy

Could have even been taken further

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Devil’s Eye

Studio:  Svensk Filmindustri

Genre(s):  Comedy/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  October 17, 1960

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

devils eye stye satan sig jarrel

When your boss is literally Satan and in a bad mood, it isn’t a good day

Chastity is a stye in the Devil’s eye…and Satan (Stig Järrel) has a big stye.  The cause of the stye is a young woman named Britt-Marie (Bibi Andersson) who is engaged to her love Jonas (Axel Düberg), and Satan wants to stop them from having a happy marriage.  Satan’s agents are the legendary Don Juan (Jarl Kulle) and his assistant Pablo (Sture Lagerwall) who are being monitored by a demon (Torsen Winge).  Invited in by Britt-Marie’s vicar father (Nils Poppe), Don Juan and Pablo have their in among the family.  Unfortunately for Don Juan, the harder he tries to break up Britt-Marie and Jonas, the more he falls for her, and his assistant has his eyes on the vicar’s wife Renata (Gertrud Fridh).

Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, The Devil’s Eye (Djävulens öga) is a comedy fantasy.  Following The Virgin Spring (also released in 1960), Bergman’s film was remastered by the Criterion Collection as part of Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema box set celebrating the director’s one hundredth birthday.

devils eye pablo sture lagerwall gertrud fridh

I’ll charm the nightgown right off of you!

Bergman is generally kind of heavy handed.  As a director he’s great and his films are in general amazing, but sitting through a Bergman film can sometimes be a challenge.  The Devil’s Eye isn’t the typical Bergman film and is a light, fun watch.

While The Devil’s Eye is a comedy, it is more along the lines of a Shakespearian comedy.  There are some laugh out loud moments (like the demon describing what is going on the night of Britt-Marie and Jonas’ marriage to torture Don Juan), but largely, the comedy is situational and almost tragic.  While Britt-Marie’s chastity is the thrust of the story, I rather enjoy the story of the vicar, his wife, and Pablo more (and feel it actually has more heart).

The cast is good.  Bergman regular Bibi Andersson is a good “chaste” woman, but I wanted a bit more from Jarl Kulle as the romancer Don Juan.  He’s upstaged completely by his assistant played Sture Lagerwall in his last feature film, and I also liked the Torsen Winge as the nosy demon who tries to keep Don Juan and Pablo on target.  Gunnar Björnstrand is featured as a narrator for the events.

devils eye bibi andersson jal kulle don juan

Well…this hasn’t turned out as I hoped

The movie also feels very play-like.  The Devil’s hell is very surreal and takes a minimalist look while even some of the house sets are very stage based.  It looks like a light farce (which it is).

The Devil’s Eye was a pleasant surprise.  It is short, sweet, and to the point though I do wish it had been a bit longer and developed.  It is interesting to see how Bergman approaches a comedy, and he does it in a way you’d expect from the director.  While it might not be one of his greatest works, the movie (like most of Bergman’s films) is a worth addition…which is admirable considering the large amount of work he produced.  Bergman followed The Devil’s Eye with Through a Glass Darkly in 1961.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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