Faustus (Richard Burton) is a scholar at the University of Wittenberg when he earns his doctorate degree. His insatiable appetite for knowledge and power leads him to employ necromancy to conjure Mephistopheles (Andreas Teuber) out of Hell. He bargains away his soul to Lucifer in exchange for living twenty-four years during which Mephistopheles will be his slave. Faustus signs the pact in his own blood and Mephistopheles reveals the works of the devil to Faustus.Written by
Dame Elizabeth Taylor's character of Helen of Troy was billed only in the credits under the single name of "Helen". See more »
When Faustus anoints his head with blood there is one mark on his forehead, but when he is conjuring Mephistophilis, there are two blood marks. See more »
[Mephistopheles has come to Faustus' study]
Where are you damned?
How comes it, then, that thou art out of hell?
Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it. / Think'st thou that I, who saw the face of God / And tasted the eternal joys of heaven, / Am not tormented with ten thousand hells / In being deprived of everlasting bliss?
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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.
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