Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon

Synopsis: In the 1960s, British painter Francis Bacon (1909-1992) surprises a burglar and invites him to share his bed. The burglar, a working class man named George Dyer, 30 years Bacon's junior, accepts. Bacon finds Dyer's amorality and innocence attractive, introducing him to his Soho pals. In their sex life, Dyer dominates, Bacon is the masochist. Dyer's bouts with depression, his drinking and pill popping, and his satanic nightmares strain the relationship, as does his pain with Bacon's casual infidelities. Bacon paints, talks with wit, and, as Dyer spins out of control, begins to find him tiresome. Could Bacon care less?
Director(s): John Maybury
  7 wins & 2 nominations.
87 min

Like a bomb exploding in reverse.

Thoughts, ideas...

fragments of images.

Shards of memory, like shrapnel,

all come back to me,

and are forced back out

in a cruel pastiche of experience.


And who might you be?

You're not much of a burglar, are you?

Take your clothes off.

Come to bed

and you can have whatever you want.

You actually make money out of painting?


It's not something I've ever

really thought about.

There were some pictures at my mum's

but they weren't really for looking at,

they were just...

Just sort of there.

Oh, yes.

That's interesting, George.

But nothing like yours, obviously.


I've done a few jobs

but I'm not much of a crook, really.

I've spent more time inside than out.

He is all of them compressed into one man.

I love what closes him out.

Not quite the Nietzsche of the football team

but still...

I know, dear,

but worse things happen at Hiroshima.

Now, which lovely member's

going to buy Mother a drink?

I'll get these.

Deakin, what'll you have?

I need a big one to calm me down.

Then I'll tell all.

So what's new? He needs a big one!

The sphincter without a secret's

come over all queer.

Give her a fag and pull up a pouffe

for her to sit on.

What's got your knickers in a twist, then?

It's her ladyship.

I think she might be going steady.

What are you talking about?

Do I know this woman?

You most certainly do. Miss Bacon herself.

The tom-tom drums have started already,

have they? That's quick.

The lady has got a new tart.

I don't like talking about Francis's

private life. I need to get some air.

So, this big brute drops out of the sky

and into her bed.

I find that rather suspect.

The cottage at Piccadilly, more likely.

You want to watch your vile, poisoned tongue,


You've got your nose jammed so far

up Francis's arse,

you're not going to notice the axe

hanging over your head.

Thank you, Muriel, darling,

I value your dishonesty.

Perhaps you could steal

this one off him, Dan,

as a sort of revenge thing.

Or have him on your telly programme.

'The Twilight World of Unhappy Poofs.'

How do you know they're unhappy?

They've only just met.

If they're getting on, then they're unhappy.

That's what love means.

That kid the Krays are pumping,

he really hasn't got a decent left hook.

I can't see him going more than four rounds.

Yeah, but I think Ronnie's pumping him

quite a different way.

I met this bloke.

- What, a fighter?

- No, a painter.

I need someone to do my lounge.

Not that sort of painter.

- He does paintings.

- That's no bloody use, is it?


Our time together has given me a whole new...


Not just for the work,

but moments like these.

You may well become a subject.

For a painting.

That'd be fantastic.

I always wanted a picture of me.

To me, you're like a sorbet.

You cleanse the palate between courses.

Sometimes, of course, it's a little bitter.


It doesn't matter.

Come along. We have an appointment.

It's time for the emperor's real clothes.

A man being measured for a suit

is not dissimilar to his being measured for

the old wooden box.

Feels like a bloody coffin.

It's f***ing hot in here, Francis.

Yes, it is hot, George.

Mr Dyer will arrange to collect the suit.

I think we're going to have some shirts

and some appropriate ties.

Hold on, hold on, don't go overboard.

I feel so...

So clothed?

You just don't care

what people think, do you?

I want you to meet my friends.

We can have a drink. God knows, I need one.

- Your mates?

- The Colony is a refuge for lost souls...

no longer in possession of living bodies.

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John Maybury

John Maybury (born 25 March 1958) is an English filmmaker and artist. In 2005 he was named as one of the 100 most influential gay and lesbian people in Britain. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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