Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan



One of my favorite comedies of all time. Peter Cook—who died much too young—co-wrote it with his comedy partner Dudley Moore. Cook is the Devil, and Moore is a schmuck who can’t get the girl he loves to notice him. The Devil gives him seven wishes, each of which he screws up, naturally. (When he’s made a wish, the Devil says the magic words: “Julie Andrews!”) In between wishes they discuss theology, more or less, and why the Devil fell from grace, while Old Scratch does evil—and stupidly juvenile—pranks aimed at making people sin. (He has a warehouse where he scratches new LPs and tears the last pages out of mystery novels.) Of course he has seven Sins working for him, including Raquel Welch as Lust. Most of them are incompetent, and at one point he sighs in frustration: “What terrible sins I have working for me. I suppose it’s the wages.” I almost hurt myself laughing the first time I saw the Leaping Beryllians, a silent order of nuns who celebrate Sister Beryl’s leaping out of her boots and straight to Heaven by jumping on trampolines. The image of those nuns doing backflips and somersaults in their habits and wimples … well, it has to be seen to be believed.