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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I loved the film Bedazzled, a film with two great performances and
great humor. Bedazzled is an incredibly original film. It's absolutely
hilarious also. There is a cameo by Raquel Welch, who plays Lillian
Lust, the babe with the bust. I'll quit talking about some of the great
things about Bedazzled and move onto the better things. Well, it
already is good enough there, but I left out the key in Bedazzled.
Dudley Moore and Peter Cook are fantastic. They are so funny and the two of them together do such a great job. The film works alone with them. But the film is just fantastic that they need two great performances to support it. The film is great enough with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. The problem with the remake is that after seeing such great performances I couldn't stop thinking about the original performances. Bedazzled is a great comedy that is high on originality and humor. I am pretty sure that you will laugh at Bedazzled. Big thumbs up. See it if you haven't seen it already.
The Plot: Stanley is a lonely guy who works at a Burger joint. Also working at the burger joint is Margeret Spencer, who Stanley has a secret crush on. One day he is so upset that he can't have her he decides to commit suicide. He is stopped by the Devil, who offers him 7 wishes.
The ultimate compliment that can be paid in life is your material being
born again. Such homage has been paid to Peter Cook & Dudley Moore as
they collaborated on this script working for big name producer Donlan.
The results are a 1960's feeling & era set film.
Many fans of Raquel Welsh feel she was wasted here, & in a sense she very much was. Other than one good sequence with Moore in the bedroom, she only gets to be eye candy. Really, her role and Eleanor's role in this are not big on either count. Eleanor gets more camera time, but her role is not really much bigger.
This film is very much into the sexist 1960's where women were looked upon as objects of men's desire. Even though in real life Raquel already had 2 kids, she became that desire for a long time before and after this film.
The strength of the film is Peter Cook's way in his role as the devil. Instead of being just pure evil, he seems to bring a friendly smile & wave to the role. The collaboration with Moore on the script show in their film long on screen partnership. This chemistry is the glue that holds the film together.
The references to drugs and suicide are common themes for the era. Moore's score contains some hip jazz sax which was very much period like work. While Cook is a Devil might care type, Moore is pretty much the same awkward shy but forward type playboy he would later reprise in several other films including the drunk sot of Arthur. Moore is good natured here and keeps getting out witted by Cook's devil.
Donlan produces some very 1960's looks down to the scene coloring of the film as there are times the color are psychedelic.
This film has been described as a time capsule by others, and in a way,
regarding life in the 60s it is that. But the humour and devastating
wit of this piece is as timeless as you can get. Cook was the Oscar
Wilde of his day, incredibly witty, clever and arrogant, and his
screenplay here is choc-full of devilishly clever and funny lines,
together with some alarmingly good visual gags. Not one of them has a
hint of overkill, every single one is underplayed and this should be a
lesson to all comedy scriptwriters, directors and performers working
today, as subtlety is certainly not the byword of 'noughties' comedy.
His delivery is spot on, as always, his presence on screen always
sparkling. For a laid back performer PC had enormous magnetism that
just drew you in to his persona, with his fascinating face always
hinting of mystery and naughtiness behind the boyish, arrogant, almost
uninterested looking half smirk he seemed to wear, that some people
including partner DM thought was a bit superior and demeaning of lesser
souls. But lets face it, next to Cook almost everyone was of lesser
talent, especially creative talent and wit.
That Moore and Bron even managed not to fade into the background with Peter Cook on such scintillating form would be a tribute to their performances, but as the screenplay dictates, much of the narrative revolves around their scenes together (with Cook coming in as the killjoy raspberry just to prick poor old Stanley Moon's balloon). I've never seen Moore as good as this, and Bron shows what an underused talent she was. Yet at the end of this highly creative masterpiece of film satire it is one person's name that stands out way above the others. This is the very best of a brilliant comedian and still represents the benchmark of film satire and observational wit.
While I consciously had never bothered with the recent remake, I did
miss the original a couple of times in the past on Cable TV; now that I
have finally caught up with it, I'd say it's a curious, with-it
updating of the Faustian legend for the Swinging Sixties crowd which,
in spite of frequently hitting its various targets, is rather patchy
overall, thus rendering its cult status slightly overrated.
The three leads Dudley Moore (as the timid cook hero), Peter Cook (as Mr. Spiggott alias The Horned One) and Eleanor Bron (Moore's co-worker and object of desire) are very appealing, although the film is perhaps best-remembered today for Raquel Welch's steamy, scene-stealing cameo as one of Spiggott's cohorts, Lilian Lust. Moore's various role-plays during the granting of his seven wishes are quite amusing, especially the accent he adopts during his intellectual mode and his befuddled countenance while impersonating a cuckolded aristocrat; at one point, he is even turned into a fly on the wall! The leaping nuns segment is perhaps the most outrageous one of all but it works surprisingly well, as does Peter Cook's deadpan song recital (during the black-and-white pop idol sequence) which is an unexpected highlight; Mr. Spiggott is also seen intermittently creating mischief towards the general public releasing a group of wasps onto some nearby peaceful hippies, removing the bottom from under a woman's shopping bag, ripping the last pages off Agatha Christie mysteries, etc.
The witty screenplay, written by Peter Cook himself, features several in-jokes: "Julie Andrews" is the magic phrase which transports Moore from one misadventure to the next; Cook at one point makes a reference to director Stanley Donen's own earlier popular musical, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954); the name of the character played by Dudley Moore is Stanley Moon which is how Sir John Gielgud (who would later famously co-star with Moore in the ARTHUR movies) had erroneously referred to Moore in a letter praising a stage performance he had seen him in! Unfortunately, the subplot involving the ongoing investigation of Moore's supposed suicide/disappearance doesn't really work (despite the welcome presence of investigating officer Michael Bates) because there would have been no reason for the police to question Bron for so long since she was only a colleague of Moore's (and one with which he barely exchanged words to boot) and not his fiancée! Dudley Moore also composed the music score which, during the opening credits, is great but the rest of the film merely features variations on the same theme.
Although by far the most successful, BEDAZZLED was not the first screen teaming of comic duo Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (who originally hailed from TV): it was preceded by the all-star THE WRONG BOX (1966; with which I am familiar) and was followed by MONTE CARLO OR BUST (1969), THE BED-SITTING ROOM (1969; which I have on DivX but have yet to watch) and the reportedly disastrous THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (1978). Furthermore, Stanley Donen had previously tackled the Faust theme as a Hollywood musical, DAMN YANKEES (1958); having shot the Hitchcock pastiche ARABESQUE (1966) in England, Donen stayed on the Continent for three more films: the marital comedy-drama TWO FOR THE ROAD (1967; starring Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn), BEDAZZLED, and his misguided depiction of the gay lifestyle, STAIRCASE (1969; starring Richard Burton and Rex Harrison).
A wily devil named George Spiggot, who has seven wishes to grant,
targets the soul of a short-order cook at Wimpy's in "Bedazzled,"
Stanley Donen's stylish take on Faust. Dudley Moore, who plays
Lucifer's object of pursuit, Stanley Moon, is a failure at everything
from his unrequited desire for a waitress at Wimpy's to his attempt to
hang himself from the water pipes in his flat. The Haunted One, played
by Peter Cook, is too smart and egotistical for his own good, although
he manages to outwit Stanley in a series of twists that turn the seven
wishes into seven disasters for the lovelorn cook. While a couple of
the episodic wish segments linger too long, they are generally quite
funny and even outright hilarious when the action moves to a convent of
The humor is quintessentially English. Those who do not relish Monty Python and "Fawlty Towers" beware. Others, however, will want repeat viewings to capture and savor lines that zip by too fast to catch at first. The delicious Eleanor Bron, who shone as the upper class snob in Donen's other 1967 film, "Two for the Road," has a showcase here. She portrays not only the vacuous waitress, Margaret Spencer, but also the various versions of the character that are depicted in Moon's wish skits. From a pseudo-intellectual to a devoted wife to a sex-crazed patrician to a repressed nun, Bron is wonderful throughout. Peter and Dudley are, well, Peter and Dudley, which is all that devotees of the team could want. Raquel Welch fans will also be delighted to see her expose her assets as Lillian Lust, one of the seven deadly sins. Her sly offer of "buttered buns" will likely have some viewers jumping through the screen.
"Bedazzled" is a film that may enchant some and bore others. However, even if English humor and Dudley and Peter leave some viewers cold, the sight of Raquel gyrating in a skimpy red bikini should warm them up.
First, I must point out that I have read Dr. Faustus, and am well acquainted
with the Faust legend. I saw this film in conjunction with a reading of
Christopher Marlowe's play, back in late 1976/early 1977 (senior year of
high school). I was already familiar with Cook and Moore, and thought this
was one of the funniest movies I had ever seen.
It's 24 years later, and I still think so.
I rented this the other week because of the release of the remake. I had tried to get it for ages, but other people had the same idea, and beat me to the video store. Yes, it's a bit dated, but how can one expect it not to be? After all, 34 years is 34 years. How could something not be dated after all this time? But it's still hilarious, and the themes are timeless, so the story itself will never get old.
The trampolining nuns are worth the price of the rental all by themselves.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Warning: there's a bit of a spoiler ahead. I recommend you see this
movie, so I'll tell you why before I get to the spoiler bit, and it's
not that much of a spoil.
If you loved Austin Powers for its kitschy 60s go-go rock and vinyl boots, you'll love this one.
This movie's fun to watch because it's such a sign of its times -- the clothes, the music, the slang -- not to mention that the stars are two top talents, among the funniest Brits you could find in their heyday. The music is especially fun. Even the incidental music is a golden gas from your momma's past, baby ... it's far out, man.
Here's the bit that's a spoiler, so don't read on til you've seen it -- and you gotta see it!
My favorite bit is when our hero gets his wish to be a beloved pop star, and Dudley Moore is there on Top of the Pops or some such show, singing "I'm on my knees / Won't you please / Come and love me", like a repressed Tom Jones, and the girls all scream like he's the heaviest cat ... and then Peter Cook follows as the next act, a weird, trancey and artsy not in the good sense) deadpan singer who sings "I don't love you .... I'm not interested ... you fill me with inertia", and all the girls leave Dudley to scream for Peter. The trippy light show and (now quite corny) psychedelic TV show scenes here are priceless.
I wish so much for this to be out on DVD. I would definitely have it. This, and the movie The President's Analyst are fabulous examples of what was groovy, and funny, about the late 60s, visually, sonically and sartorially.
As a story and a film, it's a classic that can't be outdone. Though it doesn't have many great laughs in it, the artistic insinuations and the theological views are pretty interesting and pretty tight. The performances are good, though dated even for a sixties film. But it's a classic, and Peter Cook and Dudley Moore make it that much better.
Peter Cook's "devil" is just the way I like him: he's your friend, the kind who sleeps with your girl, takes your car, and steals money from your wallet,...because he's your friend! Some of the movie is really funny, like the pruny green eyewash, the "love me" scene, the "oh, God, you're the best..". But some stuff is very forgetful (as I've forgotten what they are)....overall, worth seeing and then go find a "Derek and Clive, Live" record and laugh some more...
Absolutely my favorite movie. It is funny, clever, witty, and theologically sound. If I ever meet Satan, I am sure he will not have horns and a red suit but will be charming and a lot of fun. See it!
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