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Doctor Faustus (1967)

Unrated | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 6 February 1968 (USA)
A man sells his soul to the devil in order to have the woman he loves.

Writers:

Christopher Marlowe (play), Nevill Coghill (adapted for the screen by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... Doctor Faustus
Elizabeth Taylor ... Helen
Andreas Teuber ... Mephistophilis
Ram Chopra Ram Chopra ... Valdes
Richard Carwardine Richard Carwardine ... Cornelius
Patrick Barwise Patrick Barwise ... Wagner
Michael Menaugh Michael Menaugh ... Good Angel / Bishop (as Michael Meneaugh)
Richard Durden ... Evil Angel / Knight (as Richard Durden-Smith)
David McIntosh David McIntosh ... Lucifer
Jeremy Eccles Jeremy Eccles ... Belzebub
Gwydion Thomas Gwydion Thomas ... Lechery
Ian Marter ... Pride / Emperor
Nicholas Loukes Nicholas Loukes ... Envy / Cardinal of Lorraine
Adrian Benjamin Adrian Benjamin ... Pope
Elizabeth O'Donovan Elizabeth O'Donovan ... Empress
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Storyline

Faustus is a scholar at the University of Wittenberg when he earns his doctorate degree. His insatiable appetite for knowledge and power leads him to employ necromancy to conjure Mephistopheles out of hell. He bargains away his soul to Lucifer in exchange for living 24 years during which Mephistopheles will be his slave. Faustus signs the pact in his own blood and Mephistopheles reveals the works of the devil to Faustus. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of a scientist who sells his soul to the devil

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 February 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Doctor Fausto See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film critic Judith Crist once famously said of this film: "It turns out to be the story of a man [Richard Burton] who sold his soul for Elizabeth Taylor". See more »

Goofs

When Faustus anoints his head with blood there is one mark on his forehead, but when he is conjuring Mephistophilis, there are two blood marks. See more »

Quotes

[Mephistopheles has come to Faustus' study]
Doctor Faustus: Where are you damned?
Mephistopheles: In hell.
Doctor Faustus: How comes it, then, that thou art out of hell?
Mephistopheles: Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it. / Think'st thou that I, who saw the face of God / And tasted the eternal joys of heaven, / Am not tormented with ten thousand hells / In being deprived of everlasting bliss?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks: Candyman (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
DOCTOR FAUSTUS (Richard Burton and Nevill Coghill, 1967) **1/2
24 July 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

Cerebral and altogether too-literal transcript of Christopher Marlowe’s venerable play – the end result is opulent yet claustrophobic, not to mention dull.

Burton the producer/director certainly made inspired choices for his collaborators – production designer John De Cuir, cinematographer Gabor Pogany, composer Mario Nascimbene. Burton the actor, then, is riveting as always (particularly the monologue towards the end) – but real-life spouse Elizabeth Taylor is simply ludicrous as Faustus’ object of desire (in various disguises including Helen of Troy)! The remaining cast is largely made up of Oxford University drama students (the University itself, of which Burton was a former graduate, partly financed the film!): of these, only Andreas Teuber’s bald-headed, monk-clad Mephistopheles manages a striking performance.

The “Mondo Digital” review had likened this to the cult horror films made by Hammer, Roger Corman and Mario Bava: judging by the campy Papal sequence (with a host of fey clergymen on whom Faustus plays childish pranks) and an equally tacky conjuring act before a medieval court, I’d say that Burton and Coghill probably drew more on the decadent work of Federico Fellini or Pier Paolo Pasolini than anything else! Anyway, the experimental nature of the film extends to the baffling over-use of a pointless ‘foggy’ effect; its depiction of lust, however, emerges as traditionally naïve – with frolicking satyrs in a garden setting and decorous female nudity (including Taylor herself for one very brief moment).

Ulimately, DOCTOR FAUSTUS is to be considered an interesting failure – a personal tour-de-force for Burton but which, perhaps, needed a steadier hand…say, Joseph Losey (with whom the two stars would soon work on BOOM! [1968], curiously enough, a similar and equally maligned blend of fantasy and theatricality).


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