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Volumes could be written about Peter Cook and Dudley Moore by themselves. Writing about them together would be an epic poem rivaling “The Odyssey”. So I’ll start here…

Cook and Moore are two of the stars of “Beyond the Fringe”, a comedy revue that shaped and influenced generations to come. They became one of my YouTube searches, typing in one of their names and watching clips of performances or listening to recordings of their comedy. Then “Bedazzled” came up in the search results. I think I was actually looking up Racquel Welch and it brought up “Dudley Moore with Racquel Welch”. I’d seen their version of Hound of the Baskervilles and didn’t realized I had seen them for years in The Wrong Box. They were in Bedazzled?
I think many people my age are more familiar with the “Bedazzled” with Brendan Frasier and Elizabeth Hurley. I vaguely (meaning not at all) remember when it came out people were saying it was a remake.

Written by Peter Cook and based on a story developed by Cook and Moore, it’s inspired by the character Faust who makes a deal with the devil for unlimited knowledge and power. In “Bedazzled”, Moore’s shy, inept character makes a deal with the charming devil,Cook, to get the woman he loves. He gets 7 wishes which he uses as 7 attempts to woe her as different versions of himself.

I love Peter Cook and Dudley Moore so I really enjoyed it. Each wish allows them to become different characters and play off each other. Moore thinks he’s going to succeed each time and Cook finds a way to warp the wish. He finds one loophole he can infiltrate and ruin Moore’s chances. The devil is in the details afterall. One wish Peter paints a wonderful picture: Dudley and his interest are madly in love with each other. They’re married and live a quiet life in the country. Dudley agrees that sounds fantastic and asks for him to give him that scenario. The slight detail he missed was they’re not married to each other. She’s married to Peter, a saint of a best friend to Dudley. When Moore asks Cook how come he is always there, Cook says as the devil there’s a little bit of him in everyone.

There’s a great interview with Harold Ramis in the extras. He says it’s fun because you like both characters. Yes Peter is the devil but you understand where he’s coming from. He knows his “routine mischief” is pathetic. We can relate to Dudley’s character. Many of us feel if we could just be something else everything will fall in line. The moral is that’s not the case. Being yourself is your best bet.

Ramis compared Cook and Moore to Lennon and McCartney. He said Dudley was Paul, the sweet “cuddly” one while Cook was John, something sharp, angular and dark about him. That’s a good way of describing them. Their influence is similar to the Beatles and have influenced the likes of Monty Python, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie…

I don’t know if “Bedazzled” is a good intro to Cook and Moore but it was a good time.

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