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Leslie H. Martinson
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Stanley is a short order cook, infatuated with Margaret, the statuesque waitress who works at Wimpy Bar with him. Despondent, he prepares to end it all when he meets George Spiggott AKA the Devil. Selling his soul for 7 wishes, Stanley tries to make Margaret his own first as an intellectual, then as a rock star, then as a wealthy industrialist. As each fails, he becomes more aware of how empty his life had been and how much more he has to live for. He also meets the seven deadly sins who try and advise him. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
I first bought this movie on VHS in 1983 as an ex rental from a garage, if it wasn't worn out then it certainly is now and I probably remember every line in the movie, but for some reason I have spent the whole evening searching for a copy I can buy to enjoy it again.
The movie is a gem incomparable to the 2000 effort.
Why is the movie so good? I believe the secret to the movie is that they played themselves, Cooke cruel, but humorous, arrogant, intelligent but tragic, Moore full of good intention, seemingly one step behind, but with the brighter future; the combination is gripping.
At the end of it all, as in life Cooke is exposed as being slightly more fragile than he gives on and an unlikely bond appears to have developed between the two.
I was reassured to hear the 60's critics found the movie bland and questioned Cooke's acting ability. Cooke's genius was non-conformity and the movie is full of it, trampolining Nuns, a hypnotically haunting Pop song, thought controlled pigeons, unforgivable abuse of kind old ladies and all captured in a cinematographic magic as were "the Prisoner" and "The Avengers" and which can never be recreated by a sequel.
There are so many great asides, lines and scenes, that to mention one or the other does not do justice; it is the wealth of colourful detail in the scenes, the events, the characters and the script. This movie certainly isn't "bland", "bland" is Cooke's appearance in the "One foot in the Algarve" episode and if there is any movie to best remind us why the pairing had a hint of genius this is it.
I hope I manage to find a copy to buy in the UK, but am also grateful that it is hard to get my hands on one. This movie like my "Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" or "Queen 1" LP is that much more enjoyable because it is mine and not the property of mainstream commercialisation ... However be sure you see it at least once when you can.
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