La main du diable (1943)
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Agreed! A direct addition to my <400 list. Tourneur gives us a brooding, dark and above all Faustian fairy tale about a man who wants to back down on his pact with the Devil.
Outstanding movie. Definitely worth watching.
La main du diable ("The Devil's Hand", though it's English title is Carnival of Sinners) propose a Monkey's Paw fable where a failed artist buys a hand that gives him great talent in, well, anything one puts it to. Hey, all it costs is your soul if you happen to die with it. Metaphysical musical chairs, anyone? His quest to escape the Devil will lead him to discover the hand's origins. Director Maurie Tourneur, seemingly inspired by silent era horror cinema, mixes 1940s realism with older forms, often evoking German expressionism, and Cocteau at times too. Thematically, it ties into the painter's work, which approaches surrealism, taking us into a kind of dream-like phantasmagoria in the climax, a vision that transcends the solidity of the art world and the man's marriage, which could have belonged to straight drama. There's a wry humor to the proceedings, but few real chills, perhaps more in the realm of the Twilight Zone than it is true horror. Nevertheless, it's a quick, effective, Faustian tale, well designed and acted.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #2 in Total Film's 50 Amazing Films You've Probably Never Seen
This movie ranks #180 in ICM Forum's 500<400
This movie ranks #978 in TSZDT's The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films