The Sunday “That’s not an intertitle.”

We watched BEDAZZLED again last night because our dinner guest, Marvelous Mary, had never seen it. Filling in gaps in our friends’ cinematic experience is all part of the service.

Anyhow, the leaping nuns (you probably have to see it yourself) are sworn to a vow of silence which is a hurdle for screenwriter Peter Cook, who is all about the words. He solves this with tape recorded messages, internal monologues/telepathy (internal dialogue?) and signposts, a bit like those produced as required from behind the backs of Looney Tunes characters.

BEDAZZLED was the late Stanley Donen’s favourite directing experience. He doesn’t get in the way of the comedy, he just records it in a succession of gorgeous shots. His experience with dance may be of help here.

It strikes me that Cook’s only weakness as scenarist, apart from his verbal emphasis, which is more of an inclination than a true weakness, is that he tries too hard to pack everything with wit, jokes, epigrams and paradoxes. Whereas film comedy maybe works better if you just play a funny situation, investing in its warped reality. But actually, he does this for long stretches with Dud’s scenes. It’s only with his own stuff as Arthur Spigott, the devil incarnate, that he has to make himself a fount of bon mots. And do a funny voice. And look impossibly cool.

Behind Cook’s obvious genius and all-too-obvious, supreme self-confidence, as Barry Humphries analyses in a compelling DVD extra, is a strange LACK of self-confidence.

Make a Faustian pact Wimpy Bar double feature of this with Michael Reeves THE SORCERERS for Halloween?

Positively the same plastic tomato.

7 Responses to “The Sunday “That’s not an intertitle.””

  1. ehrenstein47 Says:

  2. Randy Cook Says:

    George. Might as well get it right.

  3. ehrenstein47 Says:

    I think it worked so well for Stanley because Cook and Moore knew what they wanted and gave him full reign to help them deliver. there’s even a reference in it to “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers”

  4. bensondonald Says:

    Is the title song available as an iTunes or mp3 file?

    Have to revisit this one, if only to scrub residue from “Hound on the Baskervilles”. Not just bad, but decadent in the talents squandered.

  5. chris schneider Says:

    I guess this is where I trot out my observation about the Drimble Wedge sequence being a pastiche of MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE-era Frankenheimer.

  6. Hmmm… well, the screens-within-screens and cameras stuff also appeared in A Hard Day’s Night, and this feels like a hyped-up version of real UK pop shows…

  7. […] day after admiring Peter Cook’s red socks in BEDAZZLED (a fashion choice also favoured by Michael Powell) I was charmed by Bakshi’s footwear. He […]

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