Of the three Oh, God! movies, You Devil is the least theological. It’s a purely a comedic exercise that allows George Burns to turn on his character, and delight in being evil. For that, it’s the easiest watch in the series, even if it’s ultimately hollow.
Oh, God! made God out to be the purveyor of right – mostly. A being empathetic toward his creation, certainly, but rarely utilizing his power in a grandiose way. You Devil concludes on a card game to determine a man’s fate, played between Satan and God. By the end, they laugh about it. No lightning bolts or fireballs – just two beings, representing right and wrong, dueling at a Vegas card table.
Seeing Burns as this sinister elderly man is, honestly, a better pitch than the one-off gag, “Burns is God.” It’s delightfully screwball and undoubtedly cruel, but the worst remains in the background. There’s no question of why Satan does what he does – it’s made clear on Burns’ face he simply enjoys anarchy. That’s it. Simple, direct, and humorous. This is the lone movie in the trilogy to engage in straight comedy, mixed with a dramatic “careful what you wish for” message about a desperate rock star.
While devoid of depth or nuance, Oh, God! You Devil openly plays with the concept, and finds a different way in to the material. It’s fresh, renewed, and divorced from the other two. Oh, God! the series ended here, a shame since the potential in exploring the God/Satan quarrels never feels wholly resolved – not that it ever could.
Bobby’s (Ted Wass) story doesn’t have the same enthusiasm, going through the routine of someone discovering they can speak to God (or Satan, mostly). Arguments and debates ensue, but that doesn’t become the centerpiece. There’s no fight to prove these supernatural figures exist. Instead, the focus stays on Bobby the person and understanding his needs, making for the richest human character in any of these movies. Oh, God! You Devil allows the space to consider consequences, not just a fight to prove an unknown truth. Also, the comedy is all on Burns and his talents, which is where the energy deserves to be focused.
Rather dull in appearance, there’s little pop to the imagery. It’s lackluster in contrast, dim and faded. The look is more akin to the first Oh, God!, drying out through the decades. Black levels fare all right, so the contrast is what’s at fault.
Same goes for color, a come down after Oh, God! Book II that showed a lot of vibrancy for an older catalog affair. Primaries fall more toward earth tints. Flesh tones appear pasty and frail. Other than Burns’ red devil suit and concert lighting, there’s not much happening here.
The print looks okay, stray dirt and scratches aside. Mastering pushes up enough resolution to see HD-worthy texture. Although on its own disc, compression struggles in spots, especially against Bobby’s apartment walls. Their slightly off-white hue causes trouble for some reason.
Fair enough DTS-HD mono produces enough clarity for the time. Dialog sounds crisp, and there’s some range in the mono track too. Bobby being a musician, music plays a key role, nicely catching in the low-end. It’s all in balance, and stable when it comes to treble.
Actor Ted Wass reflects on the project over 32-minutes, followed by a Jack Benny episode with Burns that runs 25-minutes. The final bonus is Dr. Donna Bowman’s commentary, discussing the production and the religious aspects. It’s unique.
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Oh, God! You Devil
While not one for depth, Oh, God! You Devil is an easy, comedic watch that makes full use of George Burns.
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