Pleasence, as the nouveau riche burgomeister of Hamelin, attempts to evade the plague of rats by perching his chair of office in tubs of boiling water; behind him - pulling the strings? - the Church struggles on a knife edge for power. The Pied Piper has everything wrong with it; yet over and over again it will toss up images that take it towards what must have been Demy's intentions. The film is strongest when dealing in his characteristic language of images: the corpse left by the Black Death nestling in the midst of apparent rural bliss, the cathedral-shaped cake that explodes obscenely with live rats. Too often Demy has seemed to be doing little but produce cinematic candy floss; this admittedly imperfect film of Browning's poem is at least trying for more.