Friday, September 04, 2009
Faust woodcut

Sympathy for the Devil

Dorothy Sayers and the American Faust Film

How a British Detective Novelist Can Help Us Understand an American Film Obsession

By William Jenkins ::: pheatures ::: ::: Read the whole thing



Great dissection of the Americanization of the Faust legend.  Interesting that the only film listed that held to the real outcome of making a deal with the Devil, ‘Angel Heart’, was the only one directed by a non-American, Alan Parker.

To lift a line from ‘The Bad & The Beautiful’, make sure the film ends with a kiss and black ink.  Hollywood wants happy endings with a dash of sympathy for Ol’ Scratch.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10 Sep 09 at 12:41 AM

Man what a kick-ass article.

I saw Angel Heart in its original release.  It still scares me.  I am interested in such a descent as a metaphor for the Seventh Process of Azoth which purges the eternal soul of Saturnine filth by Fire.

If Harry Angel (Novel: Fallen Angel) is also ‘Hairy’ Angel the message of Angel Heart could be that ‘the body’ must be permanently destroyed to free the Astral Essence (?)

Your article demands repeated reading.

Thank You

Posted by Da WWWiz on 19 Sep 09 at 02:20 PM

Mr. Jenkins,

I have so many thoughts - so many great movies come to mind.  From one wizard to another, can I dissuade you of a misconception?

When I first saw Angel Heart I too felt that the ‘glowing eyes’ of Cypher and later Epi’s boy-child were hokey and spoiled the flick.  Much later I appreciate that such inference is necessary.  Here’s why…

Have you seen the Denzel vehicle called ‘Fallen’?  It’s a dead giveaway.  ‘Fallen’ tells the story of a demon who may possess anyone’s body and mind at will.  So we consider the following…

Harry (Faust) IS the human incarnation of Satan.  The process of Angel Heart is the story of Satan’s bodily essence in Harry and later in Epi’s babe.  Only Harry’s body must burn - his soul rages on in a child.  Cypher is nowt but an arch-typical phantasm, proceeding from Harry’s heat oppressed brain.  This is why Harry’s elevator ride to Hell is so easy for him to accept.  He lives on.  Proudfoot’s child is his seed - by way the love of Johnny Favorite, who is Epi’s father.  Born of Alchemy.

So why the ‘yeller eyes’?  Clumsy as they are, these images are a must not for the story but for its ‘audience’.  The messages is as follows: you may not know it yet, but you are an alchemist.  An alchemist at home - In Hell.  Forever to wrestle with God and never to know peace.  You ARE Satan.  A Fallen Angel.

We want to be clear that such message is not the opinion of this WWWiz.  We are absurdist - not alchemist.

And yet…

Posted by Da WWWiz on 19 Sep 09 at 03:04 PM
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