The legend of Faust provided the inspiration for this charming fantasy about Stanley Moon (Dudley Moore), a short-order cook in a Wimpy Bar who is prevented from killing himself for love of Margaret the waitress (Eleanor Bron) by the Devil – in the form of a Mr George Spiggott (Peter Cook) – and given seven wishes in return for his soul.
Should Stanley want to cancel any of his wishes, all he needs to do is blow a raspberry.
So George sends Stanley on his merry way, with a snap of the fingers and the uttering of the magical words “Julie Andrews!”
In an effort to make his dreams come true and get his true love, Stanley uses his wishes to become a rock star, a multi-millionaire, a fly and a nun. But Stanley always manages to bungle his wishes in some way and thus never gains Margaret’s affections.
Raquel Welsh (pictured above) appears as Lillian Lust, a temptress working for George.
Bedazzled is a wild, bizarre, comedy, and it’s not difficult to see that the comedy team who brought us Derek and Clive wrote the script and composed the songs.
While some of the comedy skits work, others don’t. The film slows down in a few places, but watching Cook and Moore’s interaction with one another is always an amusing delight.
This clever film never fails to deliver on its clever plans, and in the end, Stanley gets his just means. He has learned something which has made him less greedy, less gullible, and a more interesting person.
Peter Cook is excellent in his role as the self-important devil, doing his duty so people can show God that they believe in him.
Dudley Moore is good until the film gets soapy and tired when he can not maintain his seriousness, or abilities as an actor, which have never been that good anyway.
He makes up for it by being sharp-witted and fast when he has to, and this helps his abilities.
Watch out for the Leaping Nuns . . . oh, and avoid the risible re-make with Liz Hurley in the Peter Cook role at all costs!
Inspector Reg Clarke