Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Eleanor Bron, Raquel Welch, Alba, Robert Russell, Barry Humphries, Parnell McGarry, Daniele Noel, Howard Goorney, Michael Bates, Bernard Spear, Robin Hawdon, Michael Trubshawe, Evelyn Moore, Charles Lloyd Pack, Lockwood West, Betty Cooper
Written by: Peter Cook, based on a story by Dudley Moore, Peter Cook
Directed by: Stanley Donen
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 104
Date: 12/10/1967
IMDB

Bedazzled (1967)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Faust and the Spurious

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Stanley Donen had a great year in 1967, making both this superb cult comedy and his mature, heart-rending drama Two for the Road. Peter Cook wrote the screenplay for this Faustian tale in which burger chef Stanley Moon (Dudley Moore) sells his soul to the devil, named George Spiggott (Cook), in hopes of possessing waitress Margaret Spencer (Eleanor Bron, also in Two for the Road). Spiggott gives Stanley seven "wishes" to re-arrange his new life surrounding Margaret, but each time something goes wrong. First, Stanley is rich and married, but Margaret has a lover on the side. Then he's a rock star with Margaret as his adoring fan, but her fickle attentions soon turn to a newer rock star. And so it goes, with a very smart "twist" ending. Between wishes, Stanley hangs around Spiggott's office and meets his employees, the Seven Deadly Sins, notably Lust (Raquel Welch -- who strips to her bikini). When not working on Stanley's case, Spiggott does things like scratch records and put them back in the case, or remove "wet paint" signs from park benches. Cook and Moore were a perfect team, not only in their verbal delivery and acting styles, but also physically -- and cinematically. Cook was tall and severe, while Moore was short and cuddly. The movie stretches for a happy ending, but until then Donen holds firm on the movie's black humor, allowing Cook and Moore's darkest impulses to ring true. Harold Ramis directed a pretty good remake in 2000 with Brendan Fraser as the schnook and a sexy female devil (Elizabeth Hurley).

DVD Details: For decades, this has been a notoriously difficult movie to see. The welcome new DVD from Fox is beautifully mastered in its original widescreen with clean frames and bright colors. Extras include two featurettes on Cook (who died in 1995) and Moore (who died in 2002), plus an interview with Ramis, a trailer and a still gallery.

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