Full disclosure - I tend to like movies with the devil in them. I also love brooding characters, and weighty questions about life and love, and this film has all of the above.
The premise is that in keeping with an Irish proverb, the Devil has a stye on his eye because a woman is about to be married, but is still a virgin. In this case, she's the daughter of a vicar. He sends Don Juan and his sidekick back to earth along with a demon to oversee them, with the mission of deflowering her before the wedding. Things get complicated when Don Juan quickly develops real feelings for her, and his sidekick falls for and begins seducing her mother.
Don Juan is brooding, hating both God and the Devil equally for the morality game they play. On the one hand he boldly says "the lack of principles is my principle, vice my virtue, debauchery my asceticism, godlessness my religion." On the other hand, he betrays real sadness when he says "Those capable of love are very few. Their suffering has no limit. I am told they are mirrors which reflect God, and make life easier for us wretches in the dark." Such brilliant dialog is Bergman at his best.
The vicar's wife is a complicated character as well – wondering about her husband's love, whether he would be sorry if she died, and telling him that life "is like a comedy – you see me in one part, others see me in another. No one sees my real self", as she seriously ponders whether to sleep with the sidekick. Such a poignant scene, especially as the vicar is a paragon of virtue, desperately wanting to understand her, saying he'll still love her if she sleeps with another, and later overcoming the demon's temptation to try to catch her in the act.
So both women, mother and daughter, are faced with the temptation of adultery – one just before her marriage, and the other in middle-age. Both are swayed by pent-up passion, sweet words, and pity – but their feelings and actions are far from simple. Will love be enough to shield them from temptation, even when it truly touches their hearts? I won't spoil it.
In addition to all of that, I loved the little touches in the movie, including the ministers in hell advising Don Juan on the art of seduction, the demon morphing into a black cat, and the punishment of Don Juan in hell which consisted of nightly dreams of rendezvous with sensuous women, only to be woken up before he could get his satisfaction ("the performance is over, Don Juan"). One of his later punishments is somewhat shocking given the movie was made in 1960 – he's forced to listen to a demon gives a play by play description of the sounds the one woman he cares about is making while having sex, starting with her panting and ending in an orgasm so violent she's weeping tears of joy. My goodness.
Playful, weighty, sacrilegious, creative, well cast, and well filmed – 'The Devil's Eye' may not be Bergman's best movie but it's quite good. I think it's unfair to knock it down based on his other classics – imagine if it was made by someone else! But no, with all of the elements we see here, this is distinctive Bergman.