La Beaute du Diable came into being when French filmmaker Rene Clair became fascinated with a structural defect in the "Faust" legend. Clair felt that the beginning and end of the story was perfect, but the middle section, wherein the title character blasphemes the Pope, was "silly." The director also wondered what would happen if, instead of forcing Faust to sign his soul away in exchange for happiness and knowledge, the Devil were to ask for nothing, and simply assume that Faust would sign the contract at a later date. As played by Michel Simon, Clair's devil -- or Mephisto --is actually quite a likeable fellow. In fact, he's more fun to be around than the somewhat ethereal Faust of Gerard Philipe. In establishing the "reality" of his fantasy, Clair utilizes several adroit camera tricks to get the audience to swallow the tale. Nicole Besnard co-stars as Marguerite, the vessel of Faust's ultimate redemption.