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|Index||24 reviews in total|
11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
An Ambitious Undertaking, 3 July 2007
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
It was an ambitious undertaking for Richard Burton, to film Christopher
Marlowe's classic Dr. Faustus with an untried amateur cast. I'd say he
got a mixed bag of results.
Well, they weren't all that amateur, they were the members of the Oxford Dramatic Society and quite a number of them went on to have substantial careers in film and theater. Fans of the Doctor Who series will recognize Ian Marter who played Harry Sullivan during the Tom Baker reign as the Doctor, he's probably the most well known of the cast.
Of course there's Elizabeth Taylor who plays the brief part of Helen of Troy who in legend is ultimate in feminine beauty. She has no dialog, but she makes her presence known.
Faustus, a man who devotes his entire life to the pursuit of knowledge and somehow feels he's left a lot out of his life. Piety and service to God ain't cutting it any more. He makes a deal with Lucifer himself and even gets one of the fallen angels, Mephistopheles to act as a personal servant and conveyor of Faustus's wishes to the Prince of Darkness.
Of course he gets what he wants, but there's a day of reckoning and Faustus just simply doesn't want to cough up the soul. What do you expect from a guy who constantly refers to himself in the third person? Faustus is rather full of himself.
From what little research I did, Richard Burton made a concerted effort in this film to perform it close to Marlowe's own vision. There seems to be a few versions of this out there and it's all open to speculation.
It was an ambitious undertaking, not entirely successful, but not a total failure either. And Elizabeth Taylor looks pretty good in it.
12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Trashed by the critics when first released, time has been kind to this mini-masterpiece., 8 November 2004
Author: Deusvolt from United States
The movie did draw in sizeable audiences in the Philippines although
most of those who saw it were disappointed including the critics. I
remember one shallow critic lamenting the baring of Elizabeth Taylor in
one fleeting scene (rear view). He wished she had done it in her
earlier years when she would have been more attractive. I must admit
that at my age then of 17, she did look a bit too mature for me. But
seeing her again on video with me pushing 50, I found that she looks
I not only saw the movie, I acted in our school play albeit in a small role as one of the scholars who spoke with Faustus. Alas! the play did not open as our director resigned after he couldn't pull off the open arena presentation he envisioned. Blocking was such a problem.
Seriously, the cinematic effects achieved by Burton who was both actor and director, deserve kudos considering the technical limitations of special effects at the time (1967). A striking scene was when he and Mephistopheles were walking in the night heavens discussing hell. They didn't look superimposed at all and on the full screen, with the two figures seeming to walk on the bottom of the frame across the blue black firmament among the stars, it gave one a feeling of both wonder and terror of being lost in the heavens. Looking back, it seems that Burton pioneered in achieving a surreal LSD effect which later became quite common.
The lines of Mephistopheles describing the nature of hell is memorable. I quote him freely: "Think you not that I who had experienced the Beatific Presence am not constantly tortured since I have been deprived of it? Hell is where we (the devils) are and where hell is, there we are, for each of us carry our own hell." This would apply to humans and not only to devils.
The Oxford players were great especially the actor who played Mephistopheles who was portrayed sympathetically in that he seemed to regret the Faust's loss of his immortal soul. The devil was shown weeping.
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
DOCTOR FAUSTUS (Richard Burton and Nevill Coghill, 1967) **1/2, 24 July 2007
Author: MARIO GAUCI (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Naxxar, Malta
Cerebral and altogether too-literal transcript of Christopher Marlowe’s
venerable play – the end result is opulent yet claustrophobic, not to
Burton the producer/director certainly made inspired choices for his collaborators – production designer John De Cuir, cinematographer Gabor Pogany, composer Mario Nascimbene. Burton the actor, then, is riveting as always (particularly the monologue towards the end) – but real-life spouse Elizabeth Taylor is simply ludicrous as Faustus’ object of desire (in various disguises including Helen of Troy)! The remaining cast is largely made up of Oxford University drama students (the University itself, of which Burton was a former graduate, partly financed the film!): of these, only Andreas Teuber’s bald-headed, monk-clad Mephistopheles manages a striking performance.
The “Mondo Digital” review had likened this to the cult horror films made by Hammer, Roger Corman and Mario Bava: judging by the campy Papal sequence (with a host of fey clergymen on whom Faustus plays childish pranks) and an equally tacky conjuring act before a medieval court, I’d say that Burton and Coghill probably drew more on the decadent work of Federico Fellini or Pier Paolo Pasolini than anything else! Anyway, the experimental nature of the film extends to the baffling over-use of a pointless ‘foggy’ effect; its depiction of lust, however, emerges as traditionally naïve – with frolicking satyrs in a garden setting and decorous female nudity (including Taylor herself for one very brief moment).
Ulimately, DOCTOR FAUSTUS is to be considered an interesting failure – a personal tour-de-force for Burton but which, perhaps, needed a steadier hand…say, Joseph Losey (with whom the two stars would soon work on BOOM! , curiously enough, a similar and equally maligned blend of fantasy and theatricality).
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Marlowe's mighty lines make this a mighty movie, 12 September 2005
Author: elblanco1947 from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'll admit from the beginning that Marlowe's Tragical History of Doctor
Faustus is one of my alltime favorite plays, and that I used to have it
virtually memorized. The play is itself so good that any relatively
true adaptation to the screen would make a thoughtful and enjoyable
I am old enough to remember the tabloid brouhaha about Burton and Taylor, but even that unpleasantness is insufficient to intrude upon my complete enjoyment of this film. The dialogue is over 400 years old, requiring careful listening by the viewer who is unfamiliar with the play, but that viewer will be well rewarded for his attention. The dialogue is so rich with meaning, with philosophical nuance, with the heights and depths of human emotion that the attentive viewer cannot help but think about the meaning of his actions and the consequences of them, as well. This Doctor Faustus is a fleshed out (and fleshly) genius not unlike some of those we might encounter today. The scene in which Faustus knows for certain that all that, for which he has sold his soul, is illusion; yet he still cannot bring himself to renounce it all, and redeem himself, strikes at the souls of all of us. As Don Blanding wrote about his imagined painting entitled "Sin!" I love while I loathe the beastly thing. I guess that's the way one feels about sin."
10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A movie to cherish..., 17 October 2001
Author: (email@example.com) from Northridge, Ca
Thank God, Richard Burton did this film. A man who was unjustly considered
a sell-out, he did this first on stage and then for film with all profits
both productions going to Oxford. Yes, it's cheaply designed and
theatrical, with an distracting music score...but when else will you see a
film of Marlowe's play with an actor as great playing the part?
I realize the film has its shortcomings, but its virtues are also plainly evident. Those who dismiss it a just a bad film strike me as a bunch of gluttonous clods or anti-intellectual pismires. It's a movie to cherish.
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Back To The Classic, 7 November 2005
Author: skallisjr from Tampa, FL United States
Shortly after I picked up a copy of Marlowe's play, I spotted the film
in a video store. Having read the play first, I wondered how the film
would portray it.
It did pretty well. The film apparently wasn't a high-budget item, but it conveyed the essence of the play. And, as important, it used the basic Marlowe play. That adds a touch that a more "modernized" film wouldn't have. In that, it shares a legacy found in many Shakespearean films.
The Faust story is well enough known so that there are no plot twist surprises. It may not be for everyone, but it's worth a view. Richard Burton makes a fairly believable Faust.
6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Moody Masterpiece, 17 September 2000
Author: Matthew Ignoffo (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Eatontown, NJ, USA
Marlow's play about the man who sold his soul to the devil for 27 years of
pleasure is not the most cheerful of topics. But the horror element is
well-played in this classy production with Burton as the title character
Liz Taylor as Helen of Troy, the "face that launched a thousand
Mario Nascimbene's spooky score gives an appropriately dark mood to this great masterpiece of a story.
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Let's spent the weekend with the Burtons, 30 November 2008
Author: smarti21 from Antarctica
This was a film I saw in my youth on late night television. It made quite an impression on me due to the power of Richard Burton's performance. Looking back after viewing the DVD, it seems like something the Burton's would have cooked up over a long holiday weekend. This was a great film for Richard Burton's ego. After all, he's in most of the scenes. Elizabeth Taylor seems strangely out of place as Helen of Troy and the effects of years of alcohol abuse caused her appearance to be seriously frayed at the edges. Still, this is a fun film that get's a watch from me about every five years. I particularly enjoyed Andres Truber's Portrayal of Mephistopheles. He is quite believable as the somewhat penitent fallen angel. The seven deadly sins sequence always gets a hardy laugh from me. The character of Lechery looks like a poofed up drag queen. The ending is quite dramatic and the delivery o the lines by Burton are indeed quite effective.
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A typical Richard Burton movie..., 29 June 2001
Author: Rich Meyer (email@example.com) from Saint Clair, Pennsylvania
One thing about Richard Burton...the movies he makes are never mediocre.
They are either very good or very bad.
I'm not sure on which end that Doctor Faustus falls. It wasn't exactly what I expected...Burton's adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's play on the legend of Faust. The sets and much of the cinematography is masterful...the problem is the script, which is done completely in Old English and in virtual iambic pentameter, which makes it very hard for the average person to understand.
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Way too wild and bizarre!, 9 October 2005
Author: lil_princess_08 from United States
The movie was one I watched because I was doing some project on it and found the movie at the library. So when I checked it out, I hoped to find a stunning movie about a man and his immortal love. Instead, I was distracted by wild images and scene changes. The plot line was choppy, and was not easy to follow. The end was disappointing. Overall, I rate this movie a three out of ten. It's just not worth it. The actors were good, but even the famous actors and actresses did not make this move a success. Although, I must admit, some of the most famous quotes did come from this movie--"Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss!" I overestimated how much I would like this film. A nice history lesson but no movie in my opinion.
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