THE SUPER DEVIL (1966)
aka L’arcidiavolo, The Devil in Love
Article 3865 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-5-2012
Posting Date: 3-14-2012
Directed by Ettore Scola
Featuring Vittorio Gassman, Claudine Augur, Mickey Rooney
What it is: Diabolical comedy
In the fifteenth century, the state of peace has reduced the influx of new souls to hell to a trickle, so Satan sends up the devil Belphegor in the shape of a man (and assisted by an invisible demon known as Adramalek) to start a war between Rome and Florence. However, will his human form leave him vulnerable to human emotions?
This is a comic fantasy with a few science fiction elements as well; some of Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions come into play during the proceedings. Vittorio Gassman seems to be having the time of his life playing the cocky, fearless Belphegor, while Mickey Rooney plays his part like an older Puck; in my print, he appears to be have been dubbed into Italian. Still, the biggest problem with this movie is that for the most part, it’s a one note affair; the plot itself isn’t clever enough to really engross the viewer, the humor is mostly all on the same level, and any character development is saved for the end of the movie. It’s sporadically clever and energetic, but ultimately a bit tiresome.