|Directed by||Stanley Donen|
|Screenplay by||Peter Cook|
|Produced by||Stanley Donen|
|Edited by||Richard Marden|
|Music by||Dudley Moore|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$1,500,000 (US/ Canada)|
Bedazzled is a 1967 British comedy DeLuxe Color film directed and produced by Stanley Donen in Panavision format. It was written by comedian Peter Cook and starred both Cook and his comedy partner Dudley Moore. It is a comic retelling of the Faust legend, set in the Swinging London of the 1960s. The Devil (Peter Cook) offers an unhappy young man (Moore) seven wishes in return for his soul, but twists the spirit of the wishes to frustrate the man's hopes.
Stanley Moon works as a cook in a Wimpy's restaurant and is infatuated with the waitress Margaret Spencer but lacks confidence and is too socially inhibited to approach her. In despair at his life, he attempts suicide by hanging but is interrupted by a man claiming to be the Devil, incarnated as George Spiggott. When Stanley accuses George of being delusional, he offers Stanley a "trial wish". Stanley wishes for a raspberry ice lolly, and George takes him to buy one from a nearby shop.
Spiggott is in a game with God, trying to be the first to gather 100 billion souls. If he achieves this first, he will be readmitted to Heaven. He is also busy with minor acts of vandalism and spite, helped by his staff of the seven deadly sins, notably Lust and Envy.
In return for his soul, Spiggott offers Stanley seven wishes. Stanley uses these trying to satisfy his love for Margaret, but Spiggott twists his words to frustrate him. All of Stanley's wish scenes feature characters played by Peter Cook, George explaining that "There's a little of me in everyone." Stanley is told that blowing a raspberry will free him from the effects of a wish, if he changes his mind.
Ultimately, Spiggott spares Stanley eternal damnation because he has exceeded his quota of 100 billion souls and can afford to be generous. Stanley is duly returned to his old job and life, wiser and more clear-sighted. Spiggott ascends to Heaven to meet God, but is rejected again; St Peter explains that when he gave Stanley back his soul, Spiggott did the right thing, but with the wrong motive.
In the closing scene, Stanley and Margaret are back in the restaurant. Stanley finally asks her out but she says she's already doing something, though she does suggest perhaps another night. Stanley smiles, happy that he has found the courage to talk to her. Spiggott tries to entice Stanley again, but Stanley turns him down. Frustrated, Spiggott leaves and threatens revenge on God by unleashing all the tawdry and shallow technological curses of the modern age.
Moore wrote Bedazzled's soundtrack, which was performed by the Dudley Moore Trio. The title track, Moore's best known song, was performed within the movie by the fictional psychedelic rock band Drimble Wedge and the Vegetation, featuring Cook's character as the vocalist. The piece has since been covered widely, including performances by Tony Hatch and Nick Cave. Moore recorded several instrumental versions.
In 1968 Sphere Books published a novelization of the Cook and Moore screenplay. The novelization was written by Michael J. Bird.
According to Fox records the film required $2,100,000 in rentals to break even and made $2,825,000 so made a comfortable profit.
The film was well received in the UK but had mixed reviews in the United States. Film aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 78% approval rating based on 18 reviews, with a weighted average of 7.7/10. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called it a "pretentiously metaphorical picture" which becomes "awfully precious and monotonous and eventually ... fags out in sheer bad taste." Crowther does, however, compliment Donen for his "colorful and graphic" mise-en-scène. On the other hand, Roger Ebert compared the film's humour to that of Bob and Ray. He enthusiastically called Bedazzled's satire "barbed and contemporary ... dry and understated," and overall, a "magnificently photographed, intelligent, very funny film".
The unattributed and undated review in the Time Out Film Guide 2009 describes the film as a "hit and miss affair" which is "good fun sometimes", but suffers from a "threadbare" plot. The Virgin Film Guide says "Cook and Moore brilliantly shift from character to character with just a change of voice (not unlike Peter Sellers), and the movie never flags".
In 2000, 20th Century Fox released an American remake by the same name, with Brendan Fraser as Elliot Richards (Dudley Moore's role) and Elizabeth Hurley as The Devil.
Novelization by Michael J. Bird of the film script by PC and Dudley Moore. Published 1968 by Sphere Books.