Available at Amazon.com
Peter Cook … George Spiggott/The Devil
Dudley Moore … Stanley Moon
Eleanor Bron … Margaret Spencer
Raquel Welch … Lilian Lust
Alba … Vanity (Sin #1)
Robert Russell … Anger (Sin #2)
Barry Humphries … Envy (Sin #3)
Parnell McGarry … Gluttony (Sin #4)
DaniÃ¨le NoÃ«l … Avarice (Sin #5)
Howard Goorney … Sloth (Sin #6)
Having already seen the remake of Bedazzled a few years ago, I had a certain amount of trepidation in watching Stanley Donen’s 1967 original film. While the remake’s concept was intriguing and had potential, the execution was flat-footed and unfunny, making for a pretty disappointing experience overall, despite Brendan Fraser’s goofy antics and Elizabeth Hurley’s physical charms. That experience is now made even worse after witnessing the dry wit and spirited comedy of the original film, which features the same basic premise, but is imbued with a world of difference in the movie’s intelligence and humor.
The film features Dudley Moore as Stanley Moon, a short order cook who’s in love with a woman named Margaret Spencer (Eleanor Bron), a waitress he’s worked with for six years. She seems nice enough; he’s just too timid to even try and strike up a conversation, therefore never being able to relay his feelings for her. Stanley gets so depressed about his situation that he finally decides to kill himself, only he can’t get that right either. Enter George Spiggott AKA: The Devil (Peter Cook) who offers Stanley a bargain; seven wishes so he can have everything he wants in exchange for his immortal soul.
Moore and Cook are simply wonderful in this movie, as their banter carries the film throughout; their discussions lively and always fun. Moore’s everyman is very likable, creating a character that is very easy to sympathize with as he stumbles along from problem to problem. The actor is also incredible at adapting his character to the correct environment throughout his wishes making Stanley distinct within the environment he’s supposed to be in, yet still keeping the core character the same. I especially like Moore during his wish to be more intellectual, where he’s able to really apply more dry wit than in the rest of the picture.
Perhaps ever more impressive is Peter Cook’s Satan. Played as a prankster who seems tired of simply causing mischief because it’s his job, Cook manages to keep the character very likable, even though he has to be underhanded to Stanley over and over. Cook injects his version of the devil with a little sadness, which seems to never really make him the villain of this picture, even though he is the one causing Stanley all his problems. There’s a weird relationship with Stanley and Satan because they seem to stay friends while the Devil does his work making people’s lives miserable, especially Moon’s.
Cook and Moore also wrote the film, which accounts for its dry humor. The movie never really produces any belly laughs or outbursts, just enough chuckles running throughout to make it a good time. Stanley Donen’s direction is also quite deft, never letting the proceedings devolve into humor that’s too crude or outrageous. The one exception may be the scenes in which Raquel Welch portrays Lust, a character they seemed to combine with the Devil in the remake, but significantly losing her effect because of it. Welch’s Lust is an amazing sight here and almost worth the price of admission.
In the end, Bedazzled is just another example of an original far outweighing its remake. Beating out the newer film in laughs and charisma, the original manages to make intelligent commentary while keeping the cheap jokes to a minimum. While the movie may not hold the laugh content of the best works by their Brit brethrens, Monty Python, Cook and Moore are still fabulous in this and make Bedazzled a sinful good time.
Bedazzles looks pretty good on DVD, but you can tell there’s been some degradation. The movie’s colors seem to fluctuate a bit in places, but generally the image on the print is good. The film is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1
The Audio track is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds terrific. Dudley Moore’s score for the movie is infectious and sounds decently clear throughout. The film manages to toe the line of a really good balance between score and dialogue as well.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Interviews, Tralier, gallery
Peter & Dud: An Interview with the Devil – This piece is on the set of Bedazzled and is a goofy tow minute interview with the Devil shot in black and white. This is pretty amusing, but not much more.
Peter Cook & Dudley Moore on The Paul Ryan Show – This goes about 5 minutes and has the duo discussing how they started out and their different theories about comedy. These two are real pro’s and you can see that in everything they say here, even if the segment isn’t very long.
A Bedazzled Conversation with Harold Ramis – This has Harold Ramis talking about Moore and Cook and what a terrific influence they were on his comedy, also giving biographical info on both of them. This goes six minutes.
Original Theatrical Trailer
|The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Bedazzled
||RATING(OUT OF 10)
||8(NOT AN AVERAGE)|