‘A woman’s chastity is a sty in the Devil’s eye,’ a proverb said to be of Irish origin but more likely a Bergman invention, provides the starting point for this comedy. Satan, angered by a sore eye, sends Don Juan to effect a cure by seducing a Swedish pastor’s innocent daughter. But Satan’s plans do not proceed successfully, for Don Juan falls genuinely in love with his intended victim. The Devil’s Eye is a minor but enjoyable diversion. Bergman revels in the attack on petty bourgeois pretence, and the best scenes in the film stem from his 1955 stage production of Moliere’s Don Juan. If Smiles of a Summer’s Night appears theatrical in treatment, The Devil’s Eye is more so. But Bergman transcends the restrictions of theatre by his incessant use of close-ups, which are to become an essential part of his cinema in the future.
1960.English subtitles.Black and white.90 mins.