88 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2000
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore are my all-time favorite comedy team. Arising from the "Beyond the Fringe" troupe of the 1950s, they went on to create some of the wittiest comedy routines of the 1960s. Taking off brilliantly on traditional British class divisions, they resembled an Abbott and Costello for members of Mensa, with Cook's sarcastic, sneering upper-class snob scoring endless points off Moore's sweet, hapless working-class schlemiel. Unfortunately, they never found a good screen vehicle for their comic personae--except for Bedazzled, directed by Stanley Donen from Cook's screenplay. Moore plays a short-order cook on the verge of suicide because of unrequited love; up pops the Devil, played by Cook, who offers Moore seven chances at the girl of his dreams in exchange for his soul. Of course, the Devil being the Devil (and Cook being Cook), he can't resist skewing each chance just a tiny bit...The film is a screamingly funny yet cohesive string of bits as Cook spoils each of Moore's attempts at happiness. The physical humor (wait till you see the nuns on trampolines) is every bit as wonderful as the verbal barbs (wait till you hear Cook explain how Mussolini's soul eluded his grasp). For those who are sufficiently attentive, there is also much witty and pointed discussion of traditional Christian theology and ethics. Eleanor Bron (as the girl of Moore's dreams) and Raquel Welch (as the living embodiment of Lust) are delicious in more ways than one. Stanley Donen, no stranger to directing films based on tricky screenplays, does full justice to Cook's mordant, wildly imaginative vision. Cook's career floundered in the 70s after the duo split up, and Moore's solo stardom sagged after a few early successes. Now that Cook is dead, far too young, and Moore is desperately ill, we can be grateful for Bedazzled and mourn that it had no successors.
56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
I first saw this film my first semester in college... in English 101 of all places! After reading the Goethe's "Faust," we were treated to this drop-dead, split your sides open comedy.
Dudley Moore is perfect as the bumbling, broken-hearted bafoon, Stanley Moon. Peter Cook is the evil, but somehow still loveable George Spiggot aka the Devil. Raquel Welch plays a small cameo role as "Lust," one of the seven deadly sins personified.
Moon (Moore) is lovelorn and secretly pining away for the waitress he works with at the local "Wimpy Burger" in London. When Moore realizes that the girl he desires will never notice him, he attempts to take his life and is rescued by none other than the Prince of Darkness.
Moore agrees to sign over his soul to Spiggot in return for 7 wishes. The poor sap just isn't street smart enough and constantly wishes for something he either didn't intend to wish for or worse, a wish he hadn't really thought out properly and thoroughly... exacerbating the meaning of the phrase, "be careful what you wish for... you might just get it!"
Cook does an exemplary job as the wolf in sheeps clothing. Spiggot gains Moon's confidence by being kind to him... despite his alterior motives, it is probably the first time anyone has been kind to Moon in his whole life and the Devil exploits this to the fullest measure. Lack of street-smarts gets moon in one hilarious pickle after another.
I can't say much more without ruining the plot and the hilarity, but suffice to say, you'll never hear "Julie Andrews" the same way again. I highly recommend this as a clever comedy... and one that's safe to show to teens.
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2000
Bedazzled is a black comedy based on the Faustian legend. A restaurant cook(Dudley Moore) makes a deal with the devil (Peter Cook) in exchange for the love of a woman.Classic and unforgettable,this important film has been unavailable for some time.You'll see Dudley Moore's character as an animated fly,as well as a cigar-chomping nun who lusts for Racquel Welch- in an early role as a stripper! The devil gives Dudley wishes in exchange for his soul, but adds hilariously unexpected twists for his own warped amusement.Dudley can only escape his wishes by "blowing raspberries" and uttering the phrase "Julie Andrews! " An excellant cast, an inspired director (Stanley Donen), and a hilariously unique script make this the best film of its genre.A good time will be had by all, and an important lesson will be learned by all who see this timeless masterpiece of irreverence and the triumph of good over evil. It is a travesty that such a classic film is unavailable when so many thoughtless and gratuitious films of this type are being made and sold. This is the film to judge all other Faustian comedies by, and to date, it has no equal.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2007
I will dispense with the funny first. This is the funniest movie ever. Period. No doubt. There is more clever wordplay, more sly jokes, more inventive and wonderful characters than in any other movie. That is a huge plus. I love it. But it is not the reason to watch it. Cook and Moore were often brilliant together, but this is something else. Frog and Peach is dastardly clever. This is much, much more.
Bedazzled is the most wonderful theological movie ever made. How two hedonistic jerks could cook up such a masterpiece I cannot say. But they did. The big questions of faith, free will, good and evil are all addressed beautifully. And intelligently. Good is painted with a simple brush. Evil is the evil we know, not the gross caricature but the sordid and grubby piece in every one's heart, even Mrs. Wisby's. I could write at length on this, but folks think the movie is anti-God or irreverent. Organized religion doesn't look too good, but Bedazzled is as pro-God as any Left Behind film. And still wildly funny and bitingly charming.
The image is great, and the wide-screen is a treat after the boxy VHS image I've endured for years. As to the DVD extras. Well, two short pieces with Dud and Pete, hardly worth the bother, and a rambling boring monologue by Harold Ramis. For a Bedazzled fan, as I have been for nearly 40 years, this is akin to having Steve Bartman on a Cubs DVD. I think Ramis a smart man, and Groundhog Day is on my top 5 all time, but his disastrous remake of this movie took out all the spark, wit and intelligence. A shame, as it would be fun to hear something from the actors who were in on this. All of whom, except the dreadful though lovely Raquel, are wonderful.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2000
Yeah, I know, nobody in Hollywood has had an original idea in decades, but the news that they were putting out a new version of THIS near-perfect comedy stunned me. And with the guy from "Encino Man"! The original stars the great British team of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore back when the former was still alive, and the latter was still funny. It's basically a retelling of Faust, with short-order cook Stanley Moon (Moore) head-over-heels for a completely indifferent waitress. Stanley sells his tortured soul to The Devil (Cook) for seven chances at romantic bliss, only things never seem to be quite right. No matter how hard Stanley tries to spell out exactly how he wants his new life to be, George (that's the name Satan goes by here on Earth) manages to find a loophole in each wish. The situations that result are all priceless, and there's even a few steamy scenes with Raquel Welch as one of the Seven Deadly Sins (guess which one). The original film is a 10, and there's no more chance of the 2000 version living up to it than there is of Brendan Fraser winning an Academy Award. Like, ever.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2000
How wonderful that 20th Century Fox finally chose to distribute Stanley Donen's 1967 masterpiece, starring Dudley Moore, Peter Cook, and Eleanor Bron, at a reasonable price! For years, this film cost an astonishingly high $60.00, and one could only locate copies in obscure video stores... Once, I caught it on A&E at 4am... Sad, considering the value of the picture.
Hilarious moments and scenes abound in this mod-ish update of Marlowe's "Dr. Faustus", all thanks to the pairing of Cook and Moore, of "Beyond the Fringe" fame, and a wonderful performance from Bron, as their straight woman. As Leonard Maltin and Danny Peary observed, "Bedazzled" revels in sacrilege, simply because Donen and screenwriter Cook make God the villain and Cook's Satan (ie. "George Spigott") the devilishly fun hero... who spends his time provoking spite in humans by having pigeons "release their doo-dahs" on the heads of vicars and smashing up crates of fresh bananas that will be sent to market. But it's still a barrel of laughs... irreverent, fresh, and unique... and inventive, as well, with an animated sequence and musical numbers.
Great bits include: the scene in which Cook transforms Moore into a nun of the Order of Leaping Berelians (with their sacred trampolines), the appearances of the "Seven Deadly Sins" (particularly Vanity, who carries a giant mirror affixed to himself, can't see around it and ends up crashing into everything), and, in my favorite moment, Moore's transformation into a teenage pop idol on a Hullabaloo-like television show.
It's embarrassing and a little silly that Harold Ramis decided to "remake" this film, with a cast that includes Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley. Doubtless, he probably wishes he'd written and directed the original. But you can't improve on something that's already a masterpiece.. particularly if you're Ramis. Anyway... if that's what it takes to convince MGM to rerelease the original at a more reasonable price, I suppose every cloud does have a silver lining.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2007
I can only hope that people never confuse this hard-faceted gem with the dreadful (in fact worst ever) remake. The star of the film is the chemistry between long-time comedy partners Cooke and Moore, and the supporting star is the script, which is intelligent, thought provoking, and hilarious. There are sight gags (nuns on trampolines!), slapstick, and more wit than the whole run of Fawlty Towers. The "sacrilege" in this film is the blasphemy of a monk, the questions of a true believer, and it's clear that Authority may be infuriating, but it is not unwise, just as evil may be foolish, but it is not petty. Forget Raquel on the cover: the film is about the vanity of human wishes and the folly of the divine comedy.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2000
The only downside to seeing this stunningly hilarious comedy is the frustration you feel that these guys never pulled off anything like it again. This film is so brilliantly creative and funny, you hunger for more. The targets they aim at are many and they nail 'em all--pop stars, religion, the wealthy, the pompous. The scene in which Peter Cook plays a snotty, aloof pop singer whose fans grow evermore crazed as he blatantly ignores them is a timeless classic. Has anything really changed in the last thirty years? Nobody gets off easily in this film and nobody really deserves to. The film never seems preachy, however, it's too damn funny.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2000
This is an all-time comedy classic that should not be remade. However, the plus side of the fact that a remake has been churned out by Hollywood mediocrities is that it will draw more attention to the original and hopefully get it a release on letterboxed DVD (the original film is in widescreen 2:35 to 1 aspect ratio, so the video copy that's supposed to come out on the market is absolutely NOT RECOMMENDED).
Peter Cook wrote the 'Faustian Bargain' based screenplay and acted the lead as the Devil alongside comedy partner Dudley Moore (who also wrote the music) and Stanley Donen (Yes, he of "Singing in the Rain" fame) did a masterful job directing. Eleanor Bron (who also appeared in the Beatles' Help!) plays the unattainable dream-girl greaseburger-chef Dudley hankers after, eventually deciding to make a bargain with the Devil. Of course, every little scenario that the devil cooks up for him in exchange for his soul, not only does not give him what he wants but contains a trap, and endless hilarity ensues (the bug-on-the-wall scene and trampolining nuns scene are one-of-a-kind classics).
What makes "Bedazzled" special is the highly literate quality of Peter Cook's screenplay and also his 'Monty Pythonesque' wise-aleck presence as an actor. Cook turns this film into a deep satire that does not insult the audience's intelligence even while they're laughing their heads off. They're welcome to dig deeper if they're so inclined. In fact, this film is probably the standard by which all so-called 'Faustian Bargain' films (there have been many of them) should be judged. Cook was never able to reach this level of brilliance again but even one film of Bedazzled's quality in an artist's lifetime is a gift.
Lastly, the atmosphere of Bedazzled is completely saturated with the mid-'60s, 'swinging' London feel and vibe of the period, with Moore's semi-psychedelic, R&B influenced score constantly grooving away in the background. Bedazzled becomes a fascinating historical relic as well as a superb comedy. As '60s sex-goddess Raquel Welch (playing 'Lust') shakes her 'big shoes' in Dudley Moore's mesmerized face, we (whoever 'we' are) time-travel back to an era when the Beatles were on acid growing their hair long and Elvis still had a greaser haircut.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2000
Man I'm glad that most of this film is hilarious because watching our milquetoast-hero getting snubbed by his dream-babe as she's driven away by a wealthy hunk hits a little too close to home(!) Moore plays Stanley Moon, a short-order cook in love with gorgeous (and ostensibly vacant) waitress Eleanor Bron. He worships her and wants only to be her everything, as opposed to his current status-her nothing. A deal with the devil (a charming and well, devilish Peter Cook) promises Stanley 7 wishes which he devotes almost entirely on winning over his angel (the first wasted sadly on a raspberry ice lolly),and each is played out like a perfect little Python-esqe sketch. Interactions with personified deadly sins (anger, envy, a luscious Raquel Welch as lust) add to the fun and Moore's self-composed swinging 60's score perfectly complements the goings-on. As a member of this film's cult I'm aware that this is certainly not a comedy for everyone, but if you love Moore, Python, and the like, enjoy!