Fame and the Devil (1949)

Article 2839 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-14-2009
Posting Date: 5-22-2009
Directed by Mario Moncelli and Steno
Featuring Marcel Cerdan, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Mischa Auer
Country: Italy

A professor, hoping to win the heart of the woman he loves, ends up making a deal with the devil to have him take over the body of a celebrity.

Despite the presence of the devil rather than of an angel, this movie is basically a comic variation on HERE COMES MR. JORDAN. Some of the similarities are rather interesting, if inversions of the earlier movie; in JORDAN, our main character was initially a boxer, and in this one, the meek professor ends up inhabiting the body of a boxer at one point (played by real-life French boxer Marcel Cerdan). Also, he has a buddy who keeps running into him in his new forms; Carlo Acmpanini plays the equivalent to the James Gleason role. It’s all quite amusing, but it’s also rather predictable; about half way through the movie, I pretty much knew where it was going and had a strong inkling of what the final (overly-familiar) twist was going to be. Nevertheless, I still liked the movie, especially when I discovered the identity of the third celebrity he inhabits (which I won’t give away here). I saw the U.S. version, which is shorter than the original by ten minutes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the parts that got the axe had some political significance; the woman the professor loves works for an international diplomat (played very enjoyably by Mischa Auer). This one is minor, but fun.


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