Cast & Crew
Stanley Moon, a short order cook in a London hamburger bar, is desperately in love with Margaret, the waitress, but is too timid to approach her. Depressed by his dreary life and his inability to express his love, he decides to hang himself. Failing at even this, he is suddenly confronted by the mysterious George Spiggot, who is in fact the Devil. The forlorn Stanley agrees to sell his soul for seven wishes in the hope of winning Margaret's love. Spiggot consents to allow Stanley an escape clause should he find the fulfillment of his wishes unsatisfactory. He wishes first to become an articulate intellectual; but he makes the mistake of talking himself into almost raping poor Margaret. Next, he becomes a wealthy tycoon who lavishes everything upon Margaret, now his wife, only to discover that what she really wants is other men. His third wish makes Stanley a pop-singing idol; but he loses Margaret's love when she swoons over a more exciting newcomer who looks remarkably like Spiggot. Spiggot next tricks Stanley into squandering one of his wishes when Stanley wishes out loud to know what Margaret is doing at that moment. They become flies on a wall and are able to observe Margaret talking with Inspector Clark, who is investigating Stanley's disappearance. Becoming desperate, Stanley decides to be a man of irresistible sex appeal. Despite Margaret's passion, however, she cannot bring herself to be unfaithful to her saint-like husband, who resembles Spiggot. As his next request Stanley pleads to be "a warm, loving, outgoing person and Margaret the same." The wish is granted, and they are transformed into nuns of the Order of the Leaping Berelians, whose mother superior again resembles Spiggot. After explaining to Stanley that one of his wishes was wasted on an ice lolly, Spiggot announces that he has reached his quota and that his soul will be restored to him in the hope that he, Spiggot, may reenter heaven. As Stanley returns to his hamburger bar, Spiggot is refused heavenly pardon because of his excessive pride.
Charles Lloyd Pack
Alexandre Of Paris
Bailey-pettengell Design Ltd.
Hartnell Of London
Herbert R. Smith
The story structure of Bedazzled - a series of wishes bestowed upon a Schlub by an untrustworthy Devil - lent itself to a "sketch" format in which Cook and Moore could play differing characters in a variety of settings and situations. Stanley Moon (Dudley Moore) is about to tie a noose and hang himself in his dreary London flat; he has no social or any other kind of skills and despairs over ever winning the affections of Margaret (Eleanor Bron), the waitress at the diner where Stanley is a short-order cook. A dapper gent calling himself George Spiggott (Peter Cook) appears in Stanley's flat but soon clarifies that he is none other than The Devil ("Beelzebub, The Prince of Darkness, The Horned One..."), and that he has the power to grant Moon's greatest desire in return for his soul. Moon first asks for a Forbisher & Gleason raspberry-flavored ice lolly, which the Devil retrieves by hopping on a bus and buying for Stanley (although Stanley must advance him the money). Unimpressive as this is, Lucifer then transports Stanley through time and space with the magic words "LBJ." Stanley's true desire is to win the affections of Margaret, of course, and Lucifer grants him seven wishes in his endeavor to win her. Moon is able to interrupt any scenario by blowing a raspberry, which will summon The Devil so that they can regroup and poor Stanley can rethink his strategy.
Bedazzled may have been devised as a series of skits, but it miraculously hangs together as a whole and flows naturally as a feature film. (The story is credited to both Cook and Moore with a screenplay by Cook). American Stanley Donen, co-director of such iconic musicals as Singin' in the Rain (1952) and On the Town (1949), here engages in the sort of Mod transitions and odd shooting styles and cutting that fellow American director Richard Lester utilized in the Beatles films A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965) (as well as the non-Beatles comedy The Knack ), which became something of a blueprint for depictions of Swinging London. Donen lavishes great attention on the photography (the cinematographer was Austin Dempster), even indulging in the rather odd visual motif of staging many shots through such stage scenery as windows, doorways, bedding gauze, shower doors, and mirrors. Yet Donen always manages to keep the comedy center stage; the patter between Cook and Moore is always crystal clear and more than likely the majority of the film's dialogue was redubbed in post-production so that none of the witticisms would be lost in the soundtrack.
In his book Cult Movies 2, Danny Peary recalls the impact the film had in the States and writes that "Bedazzled has become dated, but when it was released we considered it unique among the British imports, and much better than the other comedies that made it to America at that time. It combined the absurdity and breezy style of the Richard Lester films that were extremely popular in America in the sixties, the mixture of ridiculousness and sophistication of the early Peter Sellers/Alec Guinness/Ian Carmichael/Alastair Sim films; the verbal outrageousness and slapstick of the later Peter Sellers; the lowbrow comedy of the Carry On series; and, of course, the irreverent satire and parody of Beyond the Fringe..."
Peary also noted what a showcase Bedazzled was for the team of Cook and Moore. "They don't do much visual comedy (what there is, however, is unexpectedly wild), but much of their verbal repartee is brilliant. Much humor in Bedazzled comes not from what they say but how they say it; how adeptly they change voice nuances and intonations and conversational mannerisms as their characters move from class to class. As a team they can drawl like lazy-lipped British aristocrats or banter like ex-burlesque comics Abbott and Costello." Indeed, some of the great charms of the film are extremely subtle. At any given moment of Lucifer's banter with Stanley, he is absent-mindedly engaging in bits of business which he calls "routine mischief"; these consist of such acts as expiring parking meters, bruising a crate of bananas with a hammer, putting a deep scratch into one side of a random phonograph record, or ripping the last page out of an Agatha Christie novel.
Other than Eleanor Bron's key role, the other players in Bedazzled are clearly in support of Cook and Moore. Raquel Welch was played up in the film's advertising, and although certainly memorable, her role is minor. Welch plays Lust, one of the Deadly Sins that assist Lucifer in the running of his London headquarters in the Rendezvous Club. The club is decorated in "early Hitler" according to Lucifer, who says, "I can't get any decent help these days. God's laughing, of course. All he has to do is raise his little finger and he's got a thousand sycophantic prissy little angels dancing around his beck and call. I'm lumbered with Anger and Sloth."
As this last quote indicates, Bedazzled freely and gleefully engages in a mockery of religion that was quite a shock at the time, and still packs a punch. As Peary noted, "Considering that Bedazzled came out not long after John Lennon was forced to publicly retract his 'The Beatles are more popular than Jesus' remark in order to stop a boycott of Beatles records on many U.S. radio stations, as well as organized Nazi-like burnings of Beatles records and magazines, it's amazing Moore and Cook attempted and got away with using material I'm sure many people considered blasphemous."
The often uptight Bosley Crowther of the New York Times was unimpressed by the film, calling it a "pretentiously metaphorical picture" and accusing it of being "awfully precious and monotonous and eventually it fags out in sheer bad taste." Andrew Sarris of The Village Voice wrote "If Bedazzled does indeed need a defense, it must be recorded that there is more than a little exhilaration in the spectacle of clever people saying and doing whatever comes to mind without fear of pressure groups or the philistinism of the masses. More cleverness is not necessarily enough for the screen but it does deserve recognition and encouragement...."
Pauline Kael called Bedazzled a "very deft and silly and likable Faustian vaudeville," and writes that "the scenes are quick, and even though the rhythm is frequently stagey little bits of verbal wit seem to be flying about... The movie is no more than a novelty, but it may surprise you by making you laugh out loud a few times." Roger Ebert admired both the humor and the technique, observing that "in films of this sort, too often the camera records the fun instead of joining in it. However, that is certainly not the case in this magnificently photographed, intelligent, very funny film."
Producer: Stanley Donen
Director: Stanley Donen
Screenplay: Peter Cook (story and screenplay); Dudley Moore (story)
Cinematography: Austin Dempster
Art Direction: Terence Knight
Music: Dudley Moore
Film Editing: Richard Marden
Cast: Peter Cook (George Spiggott/The Devil), Dudley Moore (Stanley Moon), Eleanor Bron (Margaret), Raquel Welch (Lust/Lilian Lust), Alba (Vanity), Robert Russell (Anger), Barry Humphries (Envy), Parnell McGarry (Gluttony), Daniele Noel (Avarice), Howard Goorney (Sloth), Michael Bates (Inspector Clarke), Bernard Spear (Irving Moses)
by John M. Miller
Bedazzled - Peter Cook & Dudley Moore in Stanley Donen's 1967 Satire - BEDAZZLED
Synopsis: Miserable short order cook Stanley Moon (Dudley Moore) can't summon the courage to ask waitress Margaret Spencer (Eleanor Bron) for a date. That makes him a prime target for George Spiggott, aka The Devil (Peter Cook). George quickly talks Moon into exchanging his soul for seven wishes, giving him seven chances to win to object of his desires. Unfortunately, incorrigible trickster Spiggott puts impassable obstacles in Stanley's way -- like the amorous Lillian Lust, one of his Seven Deadly Sins (Raquel Welch).
In 1967 Bedazzled was promoted as an irreverent, intellectual comedy. Most of America had never heard of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. The picture caught on only in big cities, college towns and in the pages of Playboy, which called it "The Thinking Man's Comedy of the Year."
The basic gag is that George Spiggott -- the Prince of Darkness -- hustles the poor schlub Stanley into signing away his soul, and then repeatedly scuttles his attempts to woo Margaret Spencer. For each of his seven wishes, Stanley is set up in a different amorous scenario with his beloved: as a pop star, an intellectual, a millionaire. But Spiggott takes a role in each fantasy to put the kaibosh on Stanley's plans. When called to explain why he invades Stanley's fantasies, Spiggott shrugs, "There's a bit of me in everybody."
Much of the humor plays like burlesque written by literature professors. In the 'Millionaire' skit the mortified Stanley gives his wife Margaret expensive gifts even as she carries on an affair with her harp teacher (Robin Hawdon). George Spiggott's character unleashes a battery of crude sexual references, all layered beneath upper class Brit snob-talk. The 'Intellectual' Stanley easily steers student Margaret to his bachelor pad, only to discover that her appreciation of his literary references doesn't translate into a roll in the hay. This cues Mr. Spiggott's timeless advice to collegiate lotharios: "In the words of Marcel Proust - and this applies to any woman in the world - if you can stay up and listen with a fair degree of attention to whatever garbage, no matter how stupid it is that they're coming out with, 'til ten minutes past four in the morning... you're in."
George's payroll is padded with Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony, Avarice, Sloth, Vanity. Envy is played (hilariously) by the now internationally known Barry Humphries. Prominently displayed on the posters is Lust, or as George calls her, "Lillian Lust, the babe with the bust." That's of course Raquel Welch with a not-bad Southern accent, stripping to red underwear and tantalizing Stanley with off-color double-entendres mixing food and sex. The other Sins are mostly liabilities, except for Anger (Witchfinder General's Robert Russell). He makes the perfect bouncer for George's Hellish nightclub of the Damned, which is decorated in "Early Hitler."
Cook & Moore epitomize the collegiate brand of rude, energetic comedy eager to poke fun at society while showing off their own cleverness. The humor comes at an alarmingly fast pace yet is never scattershot, or silliness for its own sake. The most quoted joke is The Devil's unusual choice of magic words. To launch Stanley on one of his wishes, George turns out the lights, hands Stanley a fireworks sparkler and shouts, "Julie Andrews!" A series of jokes over a pool table skewer stock speculators with an investor's concern that a "Peace Scare" is threatening to wipe out the arms sales business. George Spiggott makes no excuses for his constant nasty tricks, like scratching phonograph records, tearing out the final pages of Agatha Christie mysteries and drilling little holes in oil tankers. It's just a compulsion.
But the 'jokes' also touch upon the Christian concept of God's universe, earnestly explaining some of its basic precepts, such as the idea that God gives us free will to choose between Good and Bad. George was formerly God's favorite angel until he contracted the sin of Hubris and was banished from heaven. Now his job is to tempt humanity, as part of God's plan.
Many of the jokes are satire with a definite point to make. George riles at how limited his powers are compared to God's. "He's omniscient, and I'm just highly maneuverable." He also complains that the cosmos is unfairly weighed in favor of heaven. Spiggott spent fifty years corrupting Mussolini, but the dictator sidestepped damnation via a last minute confession: "Scusi! Milli regretti! And up he goes!"
Spiggott proudly states that he's collected all but a handful of the hundred million souls in his quota deal with God ... soon his penance will be complete and he'll be able to rejoin the other angels in heaven. We feel more than a little trepidation when George, his souls all accounted for, actually takes an elevator into the clouds to meet his maker. Bedazzled is a film blanc and our Sunday-school upbringing makes us a bit nervous wondering how the film can avoid outright blasphemy. Happily, Cook & Moore find a conclusion consistent with the wild comedy tone. It's quite a perfect construction.
Bedazzled also builds an endearing affection for poor Stanley Moon, who starts with a flubbed suicide bid and gets taken for a humiliating ride. He's cuckolded by his best friend, trampled by fickle 'pop fans', transformed into a literal 'fly on the wall' and finally trapped in a nun's habit. And he never once gets to possess the girl of his dreams, the wonderfully thick-brained Cockney Margaret. Eleanor Bron is twice as funny as she was in Donen's Two for the Road, doing half as much. After Stanley's 'suicide' she's courted by Michael Bates' obnoxious Inspector Clarke, much to Stanley's chagrin. No matter how Stanley designs his wishes, George contrives to make sure that some obstacle stands between Stanley and his beloved. Every farce needs a good "sexus-interruptus" running gag, and Bedazzled's is especially clever.
The comedy overdose that is Bedazzled needs to be experienced, not explained. Try and see it with a few friends as opposed to alone. Get ready for The Fruny Green Eyewash Men, The Bouncing Beryllians and the Frobisher and Gleason Ice-Lolly. And don't forget that Big Sister is Watching You.
Fox's DVD of Bedazzled has been released wa-ay after the Harold Ramis remake, leading one to believe that it was perhaps purposely shelved so as not to show up that pale pretender. The eye-popping enhanced color transfer returns the film to its proper Panavision framing. Although never given his due, Dudley Moore was an accomplished musician and his jazzy score comes out strongly on the stereo track. That includes Moore's two satiric 'pop songs' and their hilarious lyrics: "You fill me with inertia."
Leading off the extras, director Harold Ramis sings Bedazzled's praises in a short appreciation interview. Dudley interviews Peter as the Devil in an improvised skit for ABC News, where we can see the normally deadpan Cook start to break up at one point. In fact, a number of editorial up-cuts indicate that he probably broke up several times.
The duo explain their comedy chemistry in an excerpt from The Paul Ryan Show, around 1979. Unfortunately, when asked to analyze their appeal, the two are much less exciting. At least we see them as they presented themselves out of character. A Still Gallery is also included.
For more information about Bedazzled, visit Fox Home Entertainment To order Bedazzled, go to TCM Shopping.
by Glenn Erickson
Bedazzled - Peter Cook & Dudley Moore in Stanley Donen's 1967 Satire - BEDAZZLED
TCM Remembers - Dudley Moore
Award-winning actor, comedian and musician Dudley Moore died on March 27th at the age of 66. Moore first gained notice in his native England for ground-breaking stage and TV comedy before later building a Hollywood career. Like many of his peers, he had an amiable, open appeal that was balanced against a sharply satiric edge. Moore could play the confused innocent as well as the crafty schemer and tended to command attention wherever he appeared. Among his four marriages were two actresses: Tuesday Weld and Suzy Kendall.
Moore was born April 19, 1935 in London. As a child, he had a club foot later corrected by years of surgery that often left him recuperating in the hospital alongside critically wounded soldiers. Moore attended Oxford where he earned a degree in musical composition and met future collaborators Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. The four formed the landmark comedy ensemble Beyond the Fringe. Though often merely labelled as a precursor to Monty Python's Flying Circus, Beyond the Fringe was instrumental in the marriage of the piercing, highly educated sense of humor cultivated by Oxbridge graduates to the modern mass media. In this case it was the revue stage and television where Beyond the Fringe first assaulted the astonished minds of Britons. Moore supplied the music and such songs as "The Sadder and Wiser Beaver," "Man Bites God" and "One Leg Too Few." (You can pick up a CD set with much of the stage show. Unfortunately for future historians the BBC commonly erased tapes at this period - why? - so many of the TV episodes are apparently gone forever.)
Moore's first feature film was the 1966 farce The Wrong Box (a Robert Louis Stevenson adaptation) but it was his collaboration with Peter Cook on Bedazzled (1967) that's endured. Unlike its tepid 2000 remake, the original Bedazzled is a wolverine-tough satire of mid-60s culture that hasn't aged a bit: viewers are still as likely to be appalled and entertained at the same time. Moore not only co-wrote the story with Cook but composed the score. Moore appeared in a few more films until starring in 10 (1979). Written and directed by Blake Edwards, this amiable comedy featured Moore (a last-minute replacement for George Segal) caught in a middle-aged crisis and proved popular with both audiences and critics. Moore's career took another turn when his role as a wealthy alcoholic who falls for the proverbial shop girl in Arthur (1981) snagged him an Oscar nomination as Best Actor and a Golden Globe win.
However Moore was never able to build on these successes. He starred in a passable remake of Preston Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours (1984), did another Blake Edwards romantic comedy of moderate interest called Micki + Maude (1984, also a Golden Globe winner for Moore), a misfired sequel to Arthur in 1988 and a few other little-seen films. The highlight of this period must certainly be the 1991 series Orchestra where Moore spars with the wonderfully crusty conductor Georg Solti and leads an orchestra of students in what's certainly some of the most delightful television ever made.
By Lang Thompson
A FOND FAREWELL TO ONE OF HOLLYWOOD'S MOST GIFTED DIRECTORS - BILLY WILDER, 11906-2002
Billy Wilder had the most deliciously dirty mind in Hollywood. The director dug into racy, controversial subjects with cynical wit and rare candor; he set new standards for film noir, sex comedies and the buddy film and his movies continue to inspire new generations of filmmakers.
Cameron Crowe, screenwriter and director of contemporary hit films such as Jerry Maguire(1996), was one of those moved by Wilder's film sense. The struggling filmmaker struck up a friendship with the 93-year old veteran and found a friend and a mentor. Their conversations were recently chronicled in a book by Cameron Crowe entitled Conversations with Wilder(published by Knoft).
Billy Wilder might have been born in Vienna, but American culture influenced him from the earliest days. Given the name Samuel, Wilder's mother called her son 'Billy' in honor of Buffalo Bill Cody. The name stuck.
Billy was as restless as his namesake and left law school to become a journalist. While grinding out articles for a Berlin newspaper, Wilder joined with future film directors Fred Zinnemann, Robert Sidomak and Edgar G. Ulmer to make a short film, Menschen Am Sonntag (1929). By the mid-1930s, he had written seven scenarios and even tried his hand at directing. After Hitler's rise to power in 1934, Wilder fled his homeland. Once in Hollywood, Wilder and roommate Peter Lorre had to learn English quickly if they wanted to join the American film industry. Together the German expatriates learned the language and began staking their territory in the Dream Factory.
As a writer, Wilder could craft realistic relationships with sharp dialogue; he proved this in his scripts for Ninotchka (1939) with Greta Garbo and Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire(1941). As a filmmaker, Wilder was well acquainted with the shadowy, brooding style of German Expressionism. He brought these two gifts together to create a landmark film noir - DOUBLE INDEMNITY(1944). He followed this cinematic triumph with a risky project, the story of an alcoholic on a three-day binge. Not the usual subject matter for a Hollywood studio, THE LOST WEEKEND (1945) nevertheless claimed the Academy Award for Best Picture. By the end of the decade, Wilder dared even to paint a portrait of Hollywood stardom gone awry in Sunset Boulevard (1950).
Each of these films is an undisputed classic today, but even at the time, his films were lauded. Six of his screenplays were nominated for Oscars between 1941-1950. Three of his eight Best Director nominations also came during this period. Billy Wilder claimed the American Dream; he was successfully playing by his own rules.
By the end of the '50s, as censorship guidelines were easing, Wilder's projects became even more daring. Sex was central to Wilder's world and Hollywood celebrated his candor. He directed Marilyn Monroe in two of her most sensuous roles, The Seven Year Itch (1955) and SOME LIKE IT HOT(1959). More often than not, Wilder liked pointing his finger at the hyprocrisy of people's sexual mores. In THE APARTMENT(1960), Wilder took an incisive look at corrupt businessmen exploiting their employees for sexual favors. In IRMA LA DOUCE (1963), the world of a Parisian prostitute was lovingly painted in Technicolor tones. In Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), Wilder finally stepped over the line with the story of a struggling composer willing to offer his wife to sell a song.The film, which seems so innocent today, was scandalous in its own day. Critics called Kiss Me, Stupid pornographic smut and buried the picture. Audiences ignored it. Today, the film is a risque farce with great performances by Dean Martin and Kim Novak. The critical lambast deeply affected Wilder; this would be his last sex comedy.
In 1966 Wilder brought together the dynamic combination of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau with THE FORTUNE COOKIE. Director and stars teamed again for The Front Page (1974), a remake of the newspaper classic; and Buddy, Buddy (1981), the story of an assassin and a sad sack ready to commit suicide.
Wilder's many years in Hollywood produced an amazing string of hits. From sarcastic and cynical social commentary to outrageous sex farce, Wilder pushed his audiences to look at their own values and morals. He was an outsider who wasn't afraid to point out the follies of his fellow man or the worst aspects of American culture. He will be sorely missed.
By Jeremy Geltzer
TCM Remembers - Dudley Moore
What terrible sins I have working for me. I suppose it's the wages.- George Spiggott
You fill me with inertia.- George Spiggott
"I, Stanley Moon, hereinafter and in the hereafter to be known as `The Damned' - " The damned?- Stanley Moon
Well, I suppose Lust and Gluttony really have to be rather near the bathroom.- Stanley Moon
"Dear Miss Spencer, This is just to say cheerio. Yours Sincerely, Stanley Moon. P.S.: I leave you my collection of moths."- Margaret Spencer
Opened in London in December 1967; running time: 103 min.
Released in United States March 1985
Released in United States Winter December 1967
Remake of "Bedazzled" (UK/1967), directed by Stanley Donen and starring Dudley Moore, Peter Cook and Raquel Welch.
Began shooting January 24, 2000.
Completed shooting April 18, 2000.
Released in United States March 1985 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (The Fabulous Fifty-Hour Filmex Fantasy Marathon) March 14-31, 1985.)
Released in United States Winter December 1967