This contemporary view of the Faust legend was directed by Peter Ustinov, who also appears as a psychiatrist with a monstrous German accent. Richard Burton plays the devil who is locked in an asylum for the criminally insane, disguised as a lunatic called Hammersmith.
With the help of slovenly, dimwitted, nose-picking redneck orderly Billy Breedlove (Beau Bridges) and illiterate platinum blonde diner waitress Jimmie Jean Jackson (Elizabeth Taylor) he escapes, spreads crime and pestilence, corrupts the world, starts wars, and litters the film with discarded corpses along the way.
Onetime gangster star George Raft has a short part as the owner of a topless nightclub which Hammersmith helps Breedlove acquire, and Leon Ames – looking quite aged – plays a pompous American general who owes more to Colonel Blimp than to the Pentagon.
Burton sleepwalks through the film as though in an advanced state of hypnosis, the writing is inept and the humour quickly palls. With a cast of this calibre, you would expect much much more.
Jimmie Jean Jackson
General Sam Pembroke
Linda Gaye Scott