Doctor Faustus

Movie Information

In Brief: When it was first released in 1967, Richard Burton’s film version of Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus was pretty soundly trounced by the critics. And while from today’s perspective it’s not hard to see why, it is hard to understand how they didn’t at least recognize they were in the presence of a bona fide cinematic two-headed cow. Since the film was made at a time when Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were in between divorces, he opted to cast Liz as Helen of Troy — and as a variety of other women of somewhat vaguer origin throughout the film. Yes, this is a respectable adaptation of the Marlowe play, but Burton and co-director Nevill Coghill opted to open it up and to tart it up — the overall effect is like a cross between a garishly colored Hammer horror film and a textbook example of ’60s hallucinogenic trendiness. Calling the film uneven is a kindness, but that doesn’t keep Burton’s attempt to bring Marlowe to the screen a positively mesmerizing experience that … well, has to be seen to be believed. This excerpt was taken from a review by Ken Hanke published on July 13, 2005.
Genre: Artsy Horror Drama
Director: Richard Burton, Nevill Coghill
Starring: Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Andreas Teuber, Ian Marter, Elizabeth O'Donovan
Rated: NR

The Hendersonville Film Society will show Doctor Faustus on Sunday, July 22, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community, 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.