6.6/10
148
5 user 3 critic

The Adding Machine (1969)

An accountant whose job is about to be taken over by a computer starts to re-examine his life and his priorities.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mr. Zero
...
...
Daisy Devore
...
Lieutenant Charles
...
Shrdlu
Raymond Huntley ...
Smithers
...
Don
Paddie O'Neil ...
Mabel
Libby Morris ...
Ethel
Hugh McDermott ...
Harry
...
Lawyer
...
Judy
...
Detective
Kenny Damon ...
Joe
John Brandon ...
First cell jailer
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Storyline

An accountant whose job is about to be taken over by a computer starts to re-examine his life and his priorities.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The motion picture that adds up to an excursion into the absurd.

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Comedy

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

23 September 1969 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the director of this film Jerome Epstein, it was the idea of comedian Charles Chaplin to portray the scenes in Heaven the way they turned out in the film, with hot dog stands among other things. See more »

Connections

Edited into The Clock (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Peanuts and Popcorn
(uncredited)
Music by Frank Talley
Published by Boosey & Hawkes
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User Reviews

 
Swell!
29 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Whether or not Elmer Rice was interested in bashing the business world, that comes across as secondary in this film. Sure, the dismal life of the office clerk is nothing to write home about, but it honestly was not as heart-wrenching as Mr. Zero's home life. In fact, if we wanted to make a federal case of it, we could pin Zero's anger on his wife. So, what is primary? I think this film reached beyond Rice's play into quite a few plateaus of its own. First, it definitely brings to light the science vs. religion angle with more oomph. For instance, the lieutenant's monologue concerning monkeys and men is more than a little presumptuous, since it either doesn't consider that the idea of a Creator necessarily makes evolutionary theory just a little flimsy, or else it decides to have its cake and eat it too! Another moment is, of course, Shrdlu's dilemma, which is too delicious to examine clinically.

Second, there is more than a little hip enlightenment going on here. Whether you include Planet of the Apes, or Watermelon Man, or Rhinoceros, it's apparent that the late 60's/early 70's were a breeding ground for tough playwright-to-screenplay initiative. It is very cool to watch a film from 1969 bring the sensibilities of 1930's New York to life with every bit of exaggeration and yet authenticity. From the dress to the jargon and accents, there is a briskness here that will either abrade or excite you. I found the latter to be true for me. There is also the camera work, which I think is quite good, and ritualistic for the decade in question.

Third, I think it is quite noticeable that some industry competition is at work here. Perhaps I read too much into things, but the director seems to be giving Billy Wilder, and perhaps even Woody Allen or Kubrick a run for his money. Sure, the budget is low, but that only makes me want to invoke Val Lewton! Now, just for pleasure, how great is Justin Glover, who looks so much like Crispin Glover you'll pinch yourself (ow!), but they're not related... I don't think. And Billie Whitelaw is to me a dream here, a perfect character and a terrific actress with a look that is so now extinct, it makes one wistful.

That's all, folks.


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