A young man comes out of a building and starts to walk down the street. Around him we can hear explosions, bells, and soon the street is filled with people crying, “The war is over! Armistice!” They bump into him and while they all travel in one direction, he is drawn in other direction towards a funeral procession. He enters the house of the deceased and makes his way to her bedroom. He pets a cat lying on the bed and walks to a mirror. Then as his reflection darkens, the bells start to warp, and out of the past steps a woman.
An on and off again love story between a high school student and a military nurse during WWI begins when they meet at a hospital. Her mother is a nurse and although she faints the first time she sees a wounded soldier, she sticks with the job. Then despite falling in love with the kid, she enters into a marriage with a soldier when their love is put on temporary hiatus. The film is made up of a series of cuts back and forth from the past to a tragic future that we are led towards over the course of the film. The threat of the husband in the form of him being told or in the form of the end of the war looms over the whole relationship and means it can’t last. Despite being called Devil In The Flesh, the film doesn’t really judge the kid or the wife. Their love grew out of the war, her marriage grew out of obligation during a war, and they both end along with it.
My favorite scene is when they are at a restaurant and she says the wine smells like cork. He takes a taste and seems to have his doubts, but when she questions whether he agrees, he won’t let the matter go. He calls over one waiter who doesn’t taste it so another waiter comes and another until the manager replaces the wine without question. Then they turn to each other and laugh, knowing full well, there was nothing wrong with the wine.
I don’t necessarily see a masterpiece here, but it was touching and I recommend it.