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Truly Bedazzled

April 15, 2007

I recently bought — and joyfully watched — a DVD of the original version of Bedazzled, a Peter Cook and Dudley Moore masterpiece from 1967. Been looking for it for years. (I’ve not seen the remake and wouldn’t want to.)

It’s truly subversive, in the way that nothing has been, I sometimes suspect, since the 1960’s.

The film is actually a riff on the old medieval Dr Faustus motif, to which it is surprisingly faithful. George Spiggot (Peter Cook), aka Lucifer, tries to get short-order cook Stanley Moon (Dudley Moore) to surrender his soul on a promise that, with the seven wishes he sells it for, he will manage to win the love of the object of his hopeless passion, Margaret Spencer (Eleanor Bron), a waitress at Stanley’s Wimpy Bar.

For a taste:

Poor Stanley sells his soul, all right, but doesn’t get the lady. George makes sure of that. The Devil doesn’t win either, though, as he fails in his bid use the transaction as a bargaining chip to get back into heaven. Back down on earth, with the mocking laughter of the Almighty sounding in his ears, George — suitably sinister in red silk lined cape, red socks and black bow tie — snarls the following imprecation at the Almighty:

All right, you great git, you’ve asked for it. I’ll cover the world in tasty freeze and Wimpy burgers. I’ll fill it full of concrete runways, motorways, aircraft, television and automobiles — advertising, plastic flowers and frozen food, supersonic bangs…. I’ll make it so noisy and disgusting that even you’ll be ashamed of yourself.

No wonder you have so few friends. You’re unbelievable.

Eat your heart out, Richard Dawkins.

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2 comments

  1. Yep. Remember this one vividly.


  2. Classic comedy moment.



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