The year of the Vengeance of Fu Man Chu, The Plank, You Only Live Twice, Carry On Doctor, Far From the Madding Crowd, Charlie Bubbles, How I Won the War, Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon, Frankestein Created Woman, to name but a few, and The Saint and The Avengers on British TV, this film was both of its time (which it gently, and not so gently mocks) and ahead of its time.
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were colossal talents, with of course Dudley writing the excellent music for the film as well as co-staring in it. While a delightful comedy film, the Faustus allegory is still treated fully and is thought-provoking enough in its own right, not merely in the way Stanely Moon can never quite get his wishes right, as in life, there is always a twist and a sting in the tail.
This film is however much more than a nostalgic piece. It is easy to bandy about words like masterpiece, but this genuinely is. A portrait of an era in the Wilson government, with the creation of the Open University and when there seemed to be a lot of humanistic hope for Britain, before it all took a rather depressing and tawdry right turn.
A wonderful film.
I agree with other reviewers about the Drimble Wedge 'Bedazzled' song starring Peter Cook at his coolest and most laid back. "You fill me with inertia", "I'm self-contained", "It's too much effort" etc. Utterly brilliant.