The Devil’s Eye (1960)

The Devil’s Eye (Djävulens öga)
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Written by Ingmar Bergman from a radio play by Bergman and Oluf Bang
Svensk Filmindustri
First viewing/FilmStruck

Satan: No punishment is too severe for those who love.

Bergman balances out the torment of 1960’s The Virgin Spring with this little comedy.

The film is bookended with commentary from Bergman regular Gunnar Björnstrand. He tells us of the Nordic legend that when a woman is chaste the devil gets a stye in his eye.

We arrive in a sort of 18th Century hell where Satan’s eye is really hurting.  He decides to enlist Don Juan to remedy the situation.  The Don has been suffering for centuries with a special torment where the object of his desire disappears just as he is about to have her. Satan’s plan will allow him fulfillment for his 24 hours on earth.

Don Juan and his servant Pablo arrive in the modern day at the home of a simple and kindly parson (Nils Poppe).  The parson’s daughter (Bibi Andersson), the virgin in question, is about to marry.  She is madly in love with her fiancé but not quite as innocent as she seems.  The parson’s wife is terminally bored and seems to be a good candidate for Pablo’s advances.  Will Satan’s plan succeed?

This was a light and fun watch but no masterpiece.  Bergman and cinematograper Gunnar Fischer did create some stunning visuals.



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