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Craig's Movie Hall of Fame:
The Funniest Films:

"Julie Andrews!"

Bedazzled Video Cover
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No, not the Brendan Fraser/Elizabeth Hurley remake. I'm talking about the original Peter Cook/Dudley Moore Faustian black comedy.

Dudley Moore plays Stanley Moon, a short-order cook who is madly in love with waitress Margaret Spencer (Eleanor Bron). Unfortunately, she has no idea he exists. Eventually, Stanley decides that suicide is the only answer.

Enter George Spiggott (Peter Cook), better known as the Devil. ("I'm the Horned One. The Devil. Let me give you my card.") He offers Stanley a deal: seven wishes in exchange for his immortal soul. ("You see, a soul's rather like your appendix: totally expendable.") Stanley jumps at the offer and signs the contract. ("It's the standard contract. Gives you seven wishes in accordance with the mystic rules of life. Seven Days of the Week, Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Seas, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers...")

The arrangement is simple: if Stanley doesn't like the way a wish is going, all he has to do to end the wish is give what is popularly known as a "raspberry" (put your tongue between your lips and blow). So Stanley makes his first wish, hoping to change himself and his life in order to woo Miss Spencer. And with a cry of "Julie Andrews," George sends him off. There's a catch, however. Every time Stanley makes a wish, George finds some little loophole to make each situation unbearable (like making Stanley a woman).

George and Stanley as the Leaping Berylians In between wishes, George takes Stanley on little "errands" that show him what being the devil is all about. Such as making a pigeon "do its doo-dahs" on a vicar's hat. (You see, that way you get two sins for the price of one.)

Stanley eventually wishes himself a rock star, an intellectual, a millionaire, a fly, and a nun. And always George is there to foul things up. The rock star bit is especially funny. It is a parody of the old British television program " Ready, Steady, Go" (a sort of British "American Bandstand"), and has Stanley and George as rival singers in competition for the love of the screaming fans. The songs they perform express their differing personalities to a T: Stanley's desperate plea of "Love Me!" contrasted with George's indifference-cum-loathing ("Just go away. Don't you ever leave off?").

Featuring Raquel Welch as Lilian Lust ("the babe with the bust"), this is Cook and Moore at their finest. The personalities they perfected in their stage acts are used to their best effect here. Director Stanley Donen surely just had to stand by and watch them work. Cook is pure presence as George and Dudley is in his second-best role (his best is Arthur) as shy, simpering Stanley, who eventually learns his lesson.

It's the combination of articulate references, wonderful characterization, and that oh-so-dry British humor that makes Bedazzled one of the very best.