This week, both versions of the Faustian comedy Bedazzled are being released in one DVD and both are worth watching. The 1967 original, directed by Stanley Donen (“Singin’ in the Rain”) and starring British comedy duo Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, is the story of a short order cook (Moore) who sells his soul to the devil (Cook, who also wrote the screenplay) for the chance to be noticed by a beautiful waitress. He is certain that his seven wishes will give him all the opportunities he needs to persuade her to fall in love with him. But each one goes hilariously wrong. And of course the devil has more than one trick up his sleeve. The story is fine but what makes this movie memorable is what goes on around the edges — like the portrayal of the seven deadly sins (Raquel Welch appears briefly as Lust). The devil keeps busy — watch him scratching record and tearing the last page out of mystery novels as he chats with Moore’s character. And his answer to the question of how he became the devil is very well done.
In the remake, directed by Harold Ramis (“Analyze This”), Brendan Fraser stars as the lowly cubicle worker who dreams of romance with a pretty co-worker (Frances O’Connor). The devil is a devilishly seductive Elizabeth Hurley. It is not nearly as witty as the first version, but it has superb comic performances and now and then a bit of ambition, like the understated portrayal of God, who shows up incognito to provide some support and guidance.
NOTE: Both with some mature material — recommended for mature teens and adults.