After hearing about the new Kickstarter MST3K Reunion, I was inspired upon bringing up this gem to be riffed, and no, I'm not talking about the awful remake with Elizabeth Hurley and Brendan Fraser... but the original classic with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook.. who put a rather unique spin on the 'Faust' formula.
Or the whole 'sell-your-soul-to-the-devil' shtick.
In this case, we meet Stanley Moon who is in love with Margaret. Problem is, Margaret won't give Stanley the time of day (wow, talk about obliviously cold fishes), which prompts Stanley to end it all.
(Apparently in the Sixties, that was the big thing to do when rejected by the one you love, I blame that short with Tom & Jerry, but I digress).
Anyway, just before he does a mysterious man called George Spiggott (SPIGGOTT? Seriously? Not Damien, Lucifer, or even the tried and true, Satan, or possibly a sinister name, but George Spiggott?. oh well). As indicated, George claims he's actually the Devil and will help Stanley obtain the affections of Margaret by exchanging his soul for seven wishes to do so.
Stanley seems rather skeptical of George, because if George is the Devil, he ponders on why George can't simply make Margaret love Stanley outright.
As George sighs, he admits there are limitations to his powers, and despite all his wickedness and cunning, he cannot make anyone actually love someone, since it's technically God's domain.
Then when Stanley inquires why George is being so generous, let alone wants Stanley's soul in the first place. Apparently, when George was cast out of Heaven, he had made a bet with God that he could procure approximately 10,000 souls before HIm, and if George wins, God has to let him back into Heaven.
So reluctantly Stanley agrees by following George to his office (which turns out to be an apartment behind a club, run by the hilarious personas of the Seven Deadly Sins, Raquel Welch plays Lorna Lust, the one with the Bust in this flick, BTW) and finalize the deal.
One hilarious moment is when they are signing the standard contract, Stanley asks George shouldn't he sign his name in blood, whereas George says, 'Ah, traditionalist, aren't you? Actually, mate, I really don't do that anymore, but if you insist.' Ironically, they don't use Stanley's blood, but instead one of the Sins, Sloth, who is in reality is George's lawyer.
At first, due to the unbelievable nature of his situation, Stanley doesn't believe George is the Devil or that he actually has seven wishes. So George claims he'll give a 'free demonstration' by granting Stanley a trial wish.
Now you'd think Stanley would wish for something grand, but thanks to George's off-putting attitude, the man ends up wishing for a Popsicle (Ice Lolly, England, and all that rot.). Though Stanley teleports George to a local store to get the desired item, strangely enough, George ends up having to pay for it. Whereas George claims he's the Devil, not Rockefeller. (Apparently, there's not much pay in being the Prince of Darkness)
Reluctantly convinced, George accepts George's offer, with hilarious results: basically whenever a wish is granted, if Stanley wants out, he just has to blow a raspberry and he'll be teleported back to George.
And boy, do those wishes wind up going wrong in the most unexpected ways. First off, Stanley decides that Margaret would be impressed if he was more intellectual, but ends up almost getting arrested for sexual harassment. Another has Stanley being a rock star, only to get shot down by George in the form of another singer, who sings the movie's theme song with humorous lyrics.
During all of this, Stanley starts realizing the old adage of 'being careful what you wish for,' not to mention what happens when you 'make a deal with the Devil,' as he notices how George ropes him into not only wasting his wishes, but devilishly throwing monkey-wrenches into them.
To make matters worse, George tricks Stanley into wishing he is a nun (not certain how that works, but hey, who am I to judge?). Then discover unlike the other past wishes he has made, he cannot escape it, due to a stipulation when he uses up his last wish, he is stuck with whatever he has chosen. Confused, Stanley thought he still had one, but remember when George generously 'gave' Stanley that 'trial wish.' Turns out he didn't. So Stanley seems to be hopelessly stuck until George has a change of heart and gives him back the contract.
Why would the Devil do this, you ask? Well, apparently God also presented George with another caveat (condition): before obtaining that last soul, George has to perform a good deed. But rather than spoil the ending for you (I'm not George, I'm a Paranormal Time Lord Wolf-Being, after all), I'll just say things don't quite work out as planned.
So rather than dole out seven wishes for RiffTrax, I'll give you three reasons why this should be riffed, or possibly taken into consideration for their Kickstarter Project:
(1) Next to Crazy People, it was one of Dudley Moore's better films: in this one, Dudley plays the hapless Stanley Moon rather well, considering he just sold his soul to the Devil for seven wishes. And the fact, whereas most people would be freaking out, he simply takes things in stride, and ponders over why the Devil is so evil, despite that he has made a deal with George in the first place.
(2) Peter Cook is exceptionally well as the Devil. Truthfully, what makes the movie hilarious is the fact Cook's character doesn't implement the typical hellfire, deep voice or even pitchfork. He comes off more like a demonic version of Uncle Arthur. And it's funny how he justifies his evil deeds to Stanley, not to mention is current situation and how he got cast out of Heaven in the first place.
One funny moment is when Stanley is helping him visit an old woman, to con her by claiming they are from the Pruney Eye Wash company, and if she has eight bottle caps and can answer a question she'll win a cash prize. Of course, she can't but George cleverly tells her if she goes out and buys eight bottles of the Eye Wash, he'll accept them and give her the prize anyway.
Naturally as the old woman leaves, Stanley comments how terrible George is, as he watches the Devil calmly rob the woman of her cash, and shares her berries with cream with Stanley. As George comments, 'Me? Why that old biddy just went out to scam the Pruney Eye Wash Company out of 50 Pounds, you call that fair?'
Another good zinger is when George tells Stanley about a tale of a guy trapped between two tigers in a pit. Stanley laments, 'How ridiculous, nobody would get into such a situation!' George: 'Stanley, you're right, you're much clever than that man, you'd never get trapped between two tigers in a pit, says the man who just sold his soul to the Devil.' (Of course, might be paraphrasing a bit, but you get the idea.)
(3) The hilarious theme song sung by Peter Cook. When Stanley becomes a rock star to gain Margaret's admiration and affection on a famous television show, Cook appears as a rival to sing 'Bedazzled' but what makes it outrageous is the deadpan way he delivers the lyrics when the background singers sing their part. My favorite classic response is after they sing, 'You drive me wild, you drive me wild,' he responds with the deadpan remark, 'You fill me with inertia.'
Overall, this would definitely be a great film for the RiffTrax crew to take a stab at, since this one does take a classic genre and gives it a a refreshing spin, and though there are no bloodfests, gore and burning bodies, it is disturbing to see both Dudley and Peter dressed as nuns.
Here's the clip of Peter singing the theme song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXnoWb88Jr4
And here's the trailer for the film as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8tA1wH3cck
Jeff, I need to give you some clarification: Mike, Kevin and Bill have riffed on comedic films before: first two on MST3K: Village of the Giants (yes, Ron Howard, who starred in the film stated it IS a comedy) and Alien from L.A. (yes, the film association CLASSIFIED it as a comedy). Then on RiffTrax: 'How to Catch a Yeti,' and 'Rock and Roll Nightmare.' (Jon Miki Thor claimed his film was a spoof on horror flicks, so YES it IS a comedy.) So this one is definitely riffing fodder because as Kristy indicated it has Dudley Moore, and once Joel Hodgson admitted at Comicpalooza he regretted not riffing this film on MST3K. And apparently I don't see why RiffTrax wouldn't want to riff on it. In the future, please read my entire suggestion before rendering a judgment call, thank you.
Jeff Mackey commented
Wouldn't work as it's a comedy.
Wow! Having seen this gem, you've hit the nail on the head! Anything with Dudely Moore is worth a riff! Excellent synopsis and thanks for the links