Bedazzled (Donen, 1967): BFI Southbank, 8.40pm NFT3
This film, which is screening as part of the Peter Cook season, is also being shown on Mar 4 at 6.10pm
At the conclusion of this 1967 movie, Peter Cook playing the devil (aka George Spiggott) delivers a tirade against God, who has refused him entry into heaven, which has proved somewhat prescient. He screams: "OK. You've asked for it. I'll cover the world in Tatstee-Freezes [a fast-food emporium] and Wimpy Burgers. I'll fill it full of concrete runways, motorways, aircraft, television and automobiles . . . advertising, plastic flowers, frozen food and supersonic bangs. I'll make it so noisy and disgusting that even you'll be ashamed of yourself."
Predictions of ecological disaster are not the main reason to see Bedazzled, however. It is quite simply extremely funny: a much-underrated comedy with any number of brilliant scenes. The sequence with Dudley Moore as a nun (desperately blowing raspberries) is one of my very favourite comedy moments.
Chicago Reader review:
'Long before he became the male Sandy Duncan, Dudley Moore was half—with Peter Cook—of a brilliant comedy duo. Stanley Donen found the perfect format for their talents in this 1967 reshuffling of Faust: Moore is a cook in a fast-food joint granted seven wishes by the devilish Mr. Spiggott (Cook) in exchange for his insignificant soul. The film is bright, inventive, and pointed—one of the finest and funniest comedies of the 60s. With Raquel Welch and Eleanor Bron.'
Here's an extract in which Peter Cook (as the devil) explains to Dudley Moore (the poor soul who has sold his soul) just what was so boring about heaven when he, as Lucifer, was still ensconsed there.