Forced to retreat into the past during the German Occupation, the poetic realism of Carné and Prévert degenerated into fey surrealism in this lazy medieval ballad about the Devil's malicious meddling in affairs of the heart. The opening sequences, with two mysterious strangers riding out of the desert and beginning to work their magic in the magnificent white castle created by Trauner, have a true fairytale touch. But as the hearts get tangled, with the devil's emissary falling despairingly in love with the beautiful princess, the dialogue gets increasingly lachrymose, and the slow pace begins to take its toll. Wonderful performances, though, and graced with an undeniable visual splendour.
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