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Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998)

Unrated | | Biography, Drama, Romance | 7 October 1998 (USA)
Biography of British painter Francis Bacon focuses on his relationship with his lover, George Dyer, a former small time crook.




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7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Daniel Farson
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Henrietta Moraes
Richard Newbould ...
Blonde Billy (as Richard Newbold)
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Ian Board
Andy Linden ...
Ken Bidwell
Joe Furneval
Gary Hume ...
Volker Dix
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In the 1960s, British painter Francis Bacon (1909-1992) surprises a burglar and invites him to share his bed. The burglar, a working class man named George Dyer, 30 years Bacon's junior, accepts. Bacon finds Dyer's amorality and innocence attractive, introducing him to his Soho pals. In their sex life, Dyer dominates, Bacon is the masochist. Dyer's bouts with depression, his drinking and pill popping, and his satanic nightmares strain the relationship, as does his pain with Bacon's casual infidelities. Bacon paints, talks with wit, and, as Dyer spins out of control, begins to find him tiresome. Could Bacon care less? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Study for a portrait of Francis Bacon.


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Release Date:

7 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£46,077 (United Kingdom), 20 September 1998, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$63,202, 11 October 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$343,023, 19 December 1999
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Cameo: Costume Designer Annie Symons is a patron of the Colony Room Club. See more »


Bell-Hop: I'm sorry to trouble you, Mr. Bacon, but it's your friend Mr. Dyer.
Francis Bacon: Oh. What is it now?
Bell-Hop: Well, I'm afraid he's on the roof of the building.
Francis Bacon: Oh...
Bell-Hop: And he says he's gonna jump.
Francis Bacon: Ohh!
Bell-Hop: So we were wondering if you might...
Francis Bacon: [Disinterested and annoyed] ... Come up and give him a push?
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Referenced in Miles (2016) See more »


Blue Sequins
Performed by Louis Voss & His Orchestra
Written by Kenneth Essex
courtesy Bosworth & Company Limited
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User Reviews

love with an angel face
6 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

The idea of falling is important in this story.George Dyer(play with perfection by Dani Greig)thought that he would be saved by Bacon but the painter only changed Dyer's physical falling into another more interior and destructive.We can see in different scenes(and forms) "The falling" ,to the long fall of Dyer during the title sequence until his own intention to jump from a flatroof and later through nightmarish like image who also got to do with a fall (to emptiness). Love is The devil shows how Bacon creates his paintings using Dyer(what a great name it sounds `Dying') as a MUSE and we can also see the bohemian circle of Bacon's drunk friends in which the painter is the nastiest(The great Tilda Swinton appears here as the owner of `Colony room' this place somewhere in SOHO)once again we are witness of DYER fall to alcohol ,drugs and an abusive relationship with Bacon who culminates,as everybody knows, in Dyer's suicide(his last fall at least).The most outstanding aspect of the film(besides this tormented love affair) is the photography and visual trick:the use of reflection is one of the main devices used by the director Maybury to allude to Bacon's paintings(there is a large roundmirror in the background that distorts the reflected image)Mirrors are used to repeat and layer images,resembling Bacon's use of the triptych.Water and shots through glasses and bottles distorts faces and forms(like Deneuve in Repulsion).I also loved the script,the philosophical approach(existencialism,)the wonderful actor Derek Jacobi, who plays Bacon has a perfect voice and the words he says sounds like aphorism.BUT besides S&M ,there's place to tenderness:the film opens with BACON grieving the death of his lover the scene is set in a bedroom BACON seats on the edge of the bed,his head buried in George pillow(where George laid his head suffering with nightmares)the scene is unique.

Dyer was a handsome man but he wasn't very sophisticated…If he would had read POE,he would knew the existence of diabolical painters who are capable to transcribe in to their works the vital substance of their models.If he would knew the story of Faust he would be able to identify the devil in the cherubin aging face of Bacon,who was then already a fallen angel in his own personal hell.This is a little great film I recommend it.


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