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Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Don’t let the flop reputation of the recent remake (unseen here) put you off the lightly deranged and wickedly mordant original. Peter Cook & Dudley Moore are in peak condition under Stanley Donen’s nicely unforced direction in this Faust & the Devil story. Hardly the freshest idea, but it feels both comfy & brand new. There are gracefully paradoxical speeches for Cook’s Shavian Devil and a wonderfully eccentric inamorata (Eleanor Bron) for Moore to stumble toward, all set in early Brit-Mod attire. Naturally, each wish goes gleefully off-course and some of the scenes now look like classics (jumping Nuns, flies on the wall, black & white tv pop stars), but don’t underestimate the tiny joys in catching the Devil doling out japeries. A modest, but true delight. (see NOT ONLY BUT ALWAYS; BEYOND THE FRINGE)

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