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Fantastic movie comedy -- easily one of the best satires of American life ever put on film. Norman Lear wrote and directed this gem just before moving on to "All In The Family". "Cold Turkey" and "All In The Family" are his two greatest creations. It begins with the script. It's funny from beginning to end. The script has clever dialogue, inventive ideas, an eye for detail. I can't do it justice. Just see the movie. The cast includes many of my all-time favorites, including Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart, Tom Poston, Barnard Hughes, and Jean Stapleton. You'll see a lot of people you recognize from other movies and sitcoms of the 1970s, including many who turned up on "All In The Family" and other Lear shows. "Cold Turkey" is also the best movie showcase for possibly the greatest comedy team of all time. Bob & Ray are brilliant satirizing newscasters of the time, like Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Paul Harvey, and Hugh Downs. If you're not a Bob & Ray fan, hopefully this movie will make you one. Randy Newman's soundtrack is terrific. If it ever came out on a CD, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. And it helps that the movie, which is set in a small Iowa town, was actually filmed in a small Iowa town, rather than some Hollywood backlot. It gives the movie a feeling of authenticity. This movie should have been on the AFI 100 Best Comedies list. See it.
Cold Turkey is my all time favorite comedy and a very underrated film that many people have not seen. Still relevant today it is a classic satire of smoking and American life. Filmed in Iowa in 1969 and released to the theater in 1971 the comedy is timeless. I have the laser disc, it is not available on DVD as of yet but is available on VHS video tape. Barnard Hughes gives the performance of his career as Dr. Proctor, the town surgeon and doctor who is a chain smoker. The best scene in the film is when Dr. Proctor is in the operating room with a cigarette and Dick Van Dyke and friends are trying to convince him not to light up because the town will not get the $25 million dollars for everyone not smoking for thirty days if he does. Then Walter Chronic appears in the operating room under a round light which is made to look like a halo. Pippa Scott is Dick Van Dyke's long suffering wife. Graham Jarvis is President of the Christopher Mott Society, a takeoff on the John Birch Society. Tom Poston has a small but important role as the town drunk Mr. Stopworth. Dick Van Dyke is the preacher at the Eagle Rock Community Church who almost single handedly whips the town into action. Edward Everett Horton in his final screen appearance as Hiram Grayson, head of the Valiant Tobacco Company. Bob Newhart in a somewhat unusual role as the villain from the tobacco company who is trying to win the bet with the town. An early vehicle for Norman Lear, this movie foretold his eventual success later. The old lady who is so cantankerous is priceless. Comedians Bob and Ray play numerous news anchors of the time. Vincent Gardenia plays the towns Mayor. I have seen this film many times. I recommend watching it if it comes on TV or buying the video tape if you come across one.
I can't understand why a film with such big names, both in front of and behind the camera, is not available on DVD. Is there a conspiracy? Does "Big Tobacco" not want anyone to see this? I understand this is a "niche" film, but c'mon, surely there is a small distributor willing to pick up the rights and get this into the hands of the people? Dick Van Dykes name alone should be enough to warrant a release, along with Bob Newhart and Norman Lear. I guess that unless there are some big, firey explosions or gratuitous nudity (not that there's anything wrong with that)then something isn't worthy of a DVD release. This is a well-acted and scripted satire of the culture of smoking and gives great insight into how smoking was treated 35 years ago.
There is a lot more to this movie than initially meets the eye. The obvious
humor is good enough, but the social commentary that is wryly interjected
makes this a funnier movie the second time around. There is a lot of satire
about the media, the tobacco industry and organized religion.
I can't be completely objective about this movie. It was filmed in my home town when I was 9 years old. My parents, grandmother and step-grandfather and LOTS of people I know are in the crowd scenes. One of those little fuzz balls in the back ground is me, but alas, Hollywood never called <grin>.
Norman Lear, Dick Van Dyke and many of the other cast members returned to Greenfield, IA for the 30th anniversary celebration. Norman Lear mentioned that the idea for "All in the Family" was rejected by the networks. They never felt that the program would fly in middle America. His experience with the good people of Iowa during the filming reinforced his belief that "All in the Family" would be a hit.
Watching this movie gives a glimpse into what was to become the genius of Norman Lear. I don't think it is one of the world's all time great comedies, but it is certainly worth a look - or perhaps two.
Never was the human limitations tested as they were in this film, when the
town of Eagle Rock, Iowa, must quit smoking for 30 days to win a foolish
challenge proposed by a big tobacco company. As Parent Trap became a strange
testimony on how divorce affects children, so has Cold Turkey become a
statement on addiction and withdrawal, with humorous results.
Dick Van Dyke is the town minister who finds himself caught up leading the fray; first he must develop an addiction, then join his neighbors in quitting. Barnard Hughes is the town doctor, who cannot quit smoking at all. The fight with his wife over the ashtrays in the car brings a smile to my face everytime. Bob Newhart is the tobacco company representative who must now get someone to start smoking so they will lose the bet. Pippa Scott is Van Dyke's wife, Natalie, who endures some of the most verbal spousal abuse, laced with concern and mock sincerity ("There's a demon in you, Natalie. Why are you working against me, Natalie?"), that I have ever heard. Scott only has one scene with dialogue. Jean Stapleton, Vincent Gardenia, Paul Benedict, Barbara Cason, Tom Poston and Graham Jarvis also appear in various roles. And yes, Bob and Ray spoof many of the newscasters who were popular at that time with hilarious results. They do it so well and are both so unassuming, you will not realize it is the same two guys over and over again. But the town's withdrawal is hysterical as well. I will always love when the crossing guard screams at the little girl. And the auto smash-up that happens just before the dog-kicking incident will hold your undivided attention. Finally, the town council is told if they can wait another day or so, the president of the United States himself, then Richard Nixon, will present Eagle Rock with the prize money. The council's reaction is absolutely brilliant. Add to all of this a typical Randy Newman song, 'He Gives Us All His Love', played at the beginning, the end and when Dick Van Dyke realizes the town is caught up in its own celebrity as he watches over a dozen children run by wearing masks of his own face. They just don't make films like this one anymore.
Much like "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", "Cold Turkey" shows how
crazy people can get when they're greedy. The plot centers on a town
whose people are offered a lot of money if they can stop smoking for an
entire month. They agree after getting convinced by the local clergyman
(Dick Van Dyke), but things start going crazy when they don't get to
have their cigarettes.
The movie also pokes fun at the media, with characters like "Hugh Upson" and "Walter Chronic". But overall, the movie makes fun of the "wholesome Middle America" image, showing how even seemingly idealistic small town folk can get corrupted when money is in the picture.
A great vintage comedy based on an original idea with non stop comic action and hilarious gags that will keep you laughing all the way.The actors are superb demonstrating the human weakness in a splendid manner.They do their best to stay of smoking for a month to win the big money prize.It sounds easy but is almost impossible because the city is full of fanatic smokers including the town's doctor who is the heaviest of them all.Will they make it?You'll never know until the end because....I can't reveal anything else Find it and watch it now..I love this film and i can't understand why it has not been reissued on dvd yet.Surely it deserves it and i for one would buy it instantly.Deserves to be in any self respecting comedy collection.....8 out of 10
I saw 'Cold Turkey' on TV back in 1978 or 1979 when I was eleven. Twenty-five years later I can still remember Bob Newhart's portrayal of the evil, wily tobacco executive and his motto "I believe in Wren." Even better was the little old lady in the pro-tobacco group who compared the organizers of the tobacco boycott to the troops who invaded Czechoslovskis in 1968. Dick Van Dyke was brilliant as the befuddled minister who had to put up with the everyone from larger-than-life TV anchormen and pot smoking hippies to evil tobacco executives. Norman Lear was way ahead of his time by using Randy Newman to write the soundtrack and I hope there are still copies of the movie on VHS or DVD.
Knowing full well that it could never happen, a major tobacco company
offers a multi-million dollar prize to any town in the USA that will
quit smoking for an entire month.
What the company doesn't expect is the little town of Eagle Rock, Iowa, and the Reverand Clayton Brooks leading the distressed town to prosperity with the much needed money as incentive.
The film, the work of TV sit-com legend Norman Lear, is a savage satire of the American tobacco industry, as well as the TV news community (Comic Ray Goulding appears in one scene as "Walter Chronic" in a parody of TV news anchor Walter Cronkite, with a florescent lamp behind his head, forming an angelic halo).
Many people in the film later went on to become notable television actors, and it's a delight to see how people become so easily unhinged when they're deprived of their nicotine fix (this from a happy non-smoker)!
Bob Newhart plays an odd villain in this film. A strange role for a man so associated with playing meek roles is cast as a rather icy consultant for the tobacco giants.
An underrated film that is worth another viewing, if only to have a snicker at the tobacco industry or see the town of Greenfield, Iowa used as a backdrop.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cold Turkey is one of the funniest movies that I have ever seen. This has to rank up their with the best of the absurd comedies of all-time. This poking fun at the smoking and other related habits of a small time are priceless. the on top of that parodying of smoking, is the lampooning of a small midwestern town that is suddenly thrown into the national spotlight. The acting and comedic timing are great,by a group of actors who we have seen in a bunch of different movies and tv shows. the story is well done and taken from a true story. This is one of Norman Lear's best. It has to rank with the best of his best t.v series's for comedy. The little old lady who says bullshit and has the gun, Barnard Hughes' desperate for smoke Doctor, and Tom Poston drunk definitely steal the show. This movie will make you laugh until you not only cry, but almost wet your pants. How many of us know people that we have seen give up or try and give up smoking. This is a classic. I do not think the movie could ever be remade because the times were different and because of all the political correct BS of today.Cold Turkey captures all of the little quirks of a small towns characters as well as the oddballs in town trying to quit smoking for one month. I'm laughing out loud just thinking about some of Cold Turkey's scenes right now and believe me there are plenty. From Dick van Dyke's frequent daytime visits home to be with his wife, Jean Stapleton's overeating, The little old lady saying bullshit, Barnard Hughes's pulling out his cars backseat to find a cigarette and later needing a pacifier, the choir singing for the t.v. camera and one member not singing, the party at the beginning, and the coughing the next day, Cold Turkey is one funny moment to another. Don't just rent this, buy it. I did. It a shame there aren't more parodies like this movie. Or, at least ones that work as well as Cold Turkey. This turkey soars up there with the greatest of comedies.
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