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Samson Shillitoe, a frustrated poet and a magnet for women, is behind in his alimony payments, and lives with Rhoda, a waitress who stands by him through all his troubles. Samson becomes belligerent when he cannot find the inspiration to finish his big poem so Rhoda tries to get him to see the psychiatrist Dr. West, who claims to be able to cure writer's block. Samson ends up being pursued by various women while trying to evade the subpoena servers and finish his poem. Written by
A Peculiar Combination Of James Bond And Ralph Kramden
A Fine Madness marks Sean Connery's venture into screen comedy and while the man has had many funny moments in his film, comedy was not his strong suit. Ironically he's cast opposite Joanne Woodward who as we know was married to someone who many critics also said was not at his best in comedy.
Whatever else is wrong with A Fine Madness I have always loved Connery's character name, Samson Shillitoe. One of the best screen names ever invented and so right for a would be poet.
Samson for Connery is a peculiar combination of James Bond and Ralph Kramden with Joanne Woodward as his long suffering Alice. This lout is also a chick magnet in the James Bond tradition, though God knows why. He's suffering writer's block and can't seem to finish this epic poem he's trying to write. He also has a process server in John Fiedler chasing him down for back alimony to a former wife.
Woodward puts him in the hands of psychiatrist Patrick O'Neal who claims he can cure creative people of their hangups so they can do their thing. Connery proves an interesting case however to O'Neal's colleagues, Colleen Dewhurst, Jon Lormer, Werner Peters, and especially Clive Revill who's developed a modified lobotomy that can really cure anti-social behavior. You'll find few screen characters as anti-social as Samson Shillitoe. He's also of interest to O'Neal's wife Jean Seberg who just plain ain't getting any lately.
There are some funny moments in A Fine Madness, but ultimately I found it unsatisfying. When all's said and done, though Ralph Kramden threatened many times to bang/zoom Alice to the moon, he never really did. Connery has battered Woodward and quite frankly she's a battered spouse. Why she puts up with him is beyond me completely.
And I'm surprised that this script didn't offend Joanne Woodward's feminist soul. She did the thing though to an unsatisfactory conclusion.
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