If you've ever wondered why Pete 'n' Dud were once the kings of British comedy, this movie is a good place to start. The script is tight, the performers were at the top of their game (except for Cook, who is more subdued than his usual relaxed yet manic self), and the story includes both bouncing nuns and a touching friendship. Bedazzled was as far ahead of its time as its remake was behind it. In re. remake: don't. Just don't.
Timid short-order cook Stanley Moon (Dudley Moore at his mousiest) dreams about making a move on Margaret, the strangely coiffed waitress. Alas, dream is all he can do thanks to a terminal lack of self-confidence, a fact that drives him to the brink of suicide. Help of a sort arrives in the form of George Spiggot (Peter Cook, brilliant!) a suave, smooth-talking con artist who also goes by the names Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Satan. Spiggot offers to grant Moon seven wishes in exchange for his measly little soul, an offer Stanley finds too good to be true. But, as the sayings go, be careful what you wish for and the devil is in the details for Satan quickly proves himself to be a most devious genie. As Stanley doggedly tries to win the heart of the elusive Margaret, Spiggot manages to twist his every wish into something vulgar causing the hapless burger-flipper to find himself transformed into everything from a snobbish cuckold to a common housefly to a lesbian nun. In the meantime God, portrayed here as a somewhat less than divine Voice, has a few plans of his own for the errant angel. Moore and Cook have penned a side-splitting satire that manages to skewer religion, politics, and consumer culture all at the same time. Cook’s silver-tongued Satan is a perfect blend of mischievous imp and heartless capitalist who takes great pride in his work whether he’s swindling old ladies, stealing souls, or simply taking a hammer to a shipment of bananas. Aided by the Seven Deadly Sins (including Raquel Welch as a convincing Lust) he runs the Rendezvous Club, a sleazy vice joint with no shortage of clientele. In the role of the naive and bewildered Stanley, Dudley Moore provides the perfect foil for Cook displaying the flexibility and sense of timing that made him a comedic mainstay. A cheeky satirical romp whose flamboyant performances and sparkling script have managed to withstand the test of time.
Good comic stuff for it's time, but has not stood up well. The low production values are also apparent.
This is one of the best examples of comic genius out there. The modern remake was a farce, but this is pure gold. British Humour at it's highest, and one of my favourite movies of all time.
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