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ELLIOTT GOULD & BILL COSBY IN 'THE DEVIL & MAX DEVLIN'

Bill Cosby lazily checking up on Gould YEAR: 1981
Jimmy Sangster was one of Hammer Films top creative forces, having written screenplay adaptations for their best two Universal Monster into England costume horror reboots, mostly starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing...

Those being THE HORROR OF DRACULA and CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN along with a myriad of others including THE BRIDES OF DRACULA, SCREAM OF FEAR, TERROR OF THE TONGS, PARANOIAC and THE MUMMY, and he didn't think THE DEVIL AND MAX DEVLIN, with an original title of THE FAIRYTALE MAN meant for Vincent Prince in Bill Cosby's Satan role, was meant to be a Disney flick, at least while on paper. But it turned into a surprisingly entertaining fantasy-comedy that isn't very funny for funny's sake — but with a handing-off of enough eclectic characters, it's an interesting and entertaining time-filler.

Elliott Gould's Devlin falls into a Black Hole looking Hell
A safe, family-geared Elliott Gould, obviously done with his edgy Robert Atlman flicks since Altman was in-hiding after his Hindenburg POPEYE, stars as Max Devlin, whose devious human nature is shown within the first five-minutes of turning down his shabby apartment dweller's requests for more a comfortable living...

Like HEAVEN CAN WAIT, by a cheat he's prematurely taken from life, only here, falling into hell, the special effects look straight out of the literal interior of Disney's THE BLACK HOLE two years prior: a line of black cloaked figures toiling along an eternal fire-soaked rampart, and that's where Bill Cosby's Barney Satin (get it?) hands Max Devlin (get it?) the plot of exchanging his own shabby soul for three youngster's otherwise bright and idealistic ones...

Elliott Gould & obscure blonde goddess Teri Landrum SCORE: ***1/2
That includes too-perfect kid Adam Rich, son of too-perfect love interest Susan Anspach; a high school geek who wants to be a motorcycle champ; and last but not least is Julie Budd, an awkward Barbra Streisand type, and unlike the others, Budd's (neatly exploited) talents are real...

The last two souls can only reveal their gifts when Gould's Max is within eyesight, and that's what makes this DEVIL a copycat of all other live-action 1970's Disney flicks (which, despite made in the early 1980's, this resembles): protagonists have special powers one minute, and, suddenly, are failures the next: An intentional device to provide a simultaneous character and story arc; their "magical wonders" always more intriguing and enjoyable than when things go bad, or in this case, back to normal.

Elliott Gould and Bill Cosby Dancing together
Thankfully here, the unlucky downtime doesn't last long: MAX DEVLIN is a lightweight, modern Faustian fable that's always got something lurking around each and every corner...

From grungy exterior dirt bike races to glossy interior disco-driven parties, it's a sign-of-those-times. God knows what kind of Hammer Film it'd have made.

But as Cosby lazily "cutes" his way along, leaving Gould with the real work, maybe Vincent Price could have played a villain in a Disney comedy: Which would've made this both a Faust retooling and a British horror genre satire that only those in the-know would be aware of. 
Teri Landrum with one of the cursed kids, David Knell, from Making Love to Total Recall
This picture is to show the sign of the times, the students, a dirt bike, and old car, etc etc
Intentionally or not, this is an homage to Elliott Gould in a suit walking along the beach shore
Julie Budd is the most sympathetic, leading the story of the possibly soulless youngsters, and her talent is real
Lillian Müller from King of the Mountain, as one of Hell's officers
Elliott Gould in Hell in The Devil and Max Devlin
Horror fixture Reggie Nalder rules even Bill Cosby's Barney Satin in The Devil and Max Devlin
Compare Hell's wanderers from Disney's THE BLACK HOLE to the Devlin perdition at the top of this review
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