MYRTE AND THE DEMONS (1950)
aka Myrte en de Demonen
Article 4578 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Paul Bruno Schreiber
Featuring Myrte, Harry Berg, Ludzer Eringa
Country: Netherlands / UK
What it is: Stylized fairy tale
A young girl is targeted by evil demons who wish to destroy her soul. When she falls into their trap, all of her dolls and animals friends are transformed into stone. In order to save them and herself, she must go into the dark woods armed with a candle that will only protect her while it is lit, but she has the help of a friendly goblin, two dwarfs, and the man in the moon.
This fairy tale, with its emphasis on dance, puppetry, music and mood, is more like a stylized ballet than a straight movie, and even that doesn’t quite describe this one. The story is at times quite dark (such as the scene where one of the demons sets out to kill a fluffy bunny), at other times a bit treacly (the little girl must win the demons over with her innocence), and is sometimes plain weird (the man in the moon is a rather unnerving presence). It most resembles Cocteau’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, though it isn’t quite as successful in sustaining its sense of poetry and magic. Nonetheless, this is an interesting and unique fairy tale, and I’m glad its appearance on YouTube has allowed me to rescue it from my “ones that got away” list.