Richard Burton stars as the centuries-old Christopher Marlowe character, Doctor Faustus, who sells his soul to Lucifer (David McIntosh) in return for 24 years of youth and pleasure.
The lustful and arrogant Faust indulges his earthly appetites, sees the seven deadly sins, performs magic for the emperor (Ian Marter), and has farting-related fun whilst invisible at the expense of the Pope (Adrian Benjamin).
He is assisted throughout by the devil’s right-hand man, Mephistopheles (Andreas Teuber) before eventually being dragged down to hell at the hour of reckoning.
Burton acts with force and speaks the lines with sonorous dignity and sense. A busty Elizabeth Taylor – mute throughout – appears as Helen of Troy, the continuous source of Faust’s lust and fantasy.
The talented supporting players from the Oxford University Dramatic Society are adequate but the film is something of an oddity with the atmosphere, music, and colours combining in a hallucinogenic mix.
Helen of Troy
Envy/Cardinal of Lorraine