In the early nineties, Harold Ramis was a kind of God of cinematic comedy. He directed Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s vacation, and Groundhog Day, he wrote and acted in Ghostbusters he even wrote for Rodney Dangerfield. But then he pretty much just faded away. He started working on endless sequels of his successful work with the odd middle-of-the-road original movie in between. Like Bedazzled.
The plot is a bit too trite to be very interesting: Elliot, some random schmuck without characteristics,1 is over the moon with a girl from work. The devil offers him seven wishes in exchange for his soul. Stupidly, he accepts. Even more stupidly, he doesn’t wish anything about chess.
But, at the very end, when all is said and done and things have predictably ended well, the devil is briefly seen at the chessboard. I’m not a hundred percent confident, but the position seems to be the following:2
Here, the devil — who naturally is playing black — draws her opponent’s attention away so she can surreptitiously pocket a piece or two. Strangely, the piece she goes for is the d3 pawn. Perhaps the devil isn’t as clever as she is usually portrayed to be.
On the other hand, her opposition isn’t very strong either, because he clearly misplayed this terribly. And the only thing necessary for evil to win is for good people to play badly.
Realism: 2/5 Strange things are afoot here. White seems to have blown up his king’s side and, as black is barely developed, he seems to have done so of his own volition. But maybe that’s just the devil’s bad influence.
Probable winner: The Devil has an extra bishop in her pocket.
1. [At least, that’s what he’s supposed to be. But he’s played by Brendan Fraser.] ↩
2. [And the diagram editor is dazzling.] ↩