Article 2894 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-10-2009
Posting Date: 7-16-2009
Directed by Stanley Donen
Featuring Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Elanor Bron
When a short-order cook, depressed over his inability to work up the courage to ask a waitress for a date, makes a failed suicide attempt, he is visited by the devil, who offers him seven wishes for his soul. However, the devil has plenty of tricks up his sleeve…
This take on the Faust story is a cult favorite. It’s only moderately funny; for me, the best bits are Peter Cook’s petty jokes designed to spread misery, such as purposefully scratching records and calling people he knows are in the bathtub merely to tell them they’ve got a wrong number. However, it’s not the comedy that really centers this movie; it’s the wicked satire on religion that drives this one. Throughout most of the movie, the short-order cook is the main character, but by the end of the movie, you’ll realize that it’s the devil’s story that’s being told here, and by the end of the movie you’ll understand his plight very well. Most of the advertising centered on the presence of Raquel Welch in the role of Lust, and though she does a fine job, it’s really no more than a cameo. It’s Cook, Moore and Bron who really make this work, and they all do a fine job in taking on the various roles and personas given them by the script. It’s not for everybody, by any means; I suspect that devout Christians in particular might find this one offensive. Nevertheless, I think the final twist in the story is great, and I found the movie quite enjoyable.