Review: ‘Doctor Faustus’

An oddity that may have some archive appeal, for at least it records a performance by Burton [at Oxford University in 1966] that gives an insight into his prowess in classical roles. He is obviously captivated by Christopher Marlowe's 400-year-old verse, and speaks it with sonorous dignity and sense.

An oddity that may have some archive appeal, for at least it records a performance by Burton [at Oxford University in 1966] that gives an insight into his prowess in classical roles. He is obviously captivated by Christopher Marlowe’s 400-year-old verse, and speaks it with sonorous dignity and sense.

The story concerns the medieval doctor’s attempt to master all human knowledge by selling his soul to the devil, who dangles before him such delights as nights with Elizabeth Taylor, who flits through the film in various undraped poses as the Helen of Troy siren promising a fate worse than death.

One surprise is the general adequacy of the Oxford amateurs, with a good performance in any terms from Andreas Teuber as Mephistopheles. But the impersonation of the seven deadly sins is hardly likely to send good men off the rail. Production was filmed in Rome.

Doctor Faustus

UK

Production

Columbia. Director Richard Burton, Nevill Coghill; Producer Richard Burton, Richard McWhorter; Screenplay Nevill Coghill; Camera Gabor Pogany; Editor John Shirley; Music Mario Nascimbene; Art Director John F. DeCuir

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1967. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Richard Burton Elizabeth Taylor Andreas Teuber Ian Marter Elizabeth O'Donovan David McIntosh
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