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The Faust legend retold (loosely) and applied to a mentally disturbed patient in a hospital run by a doctor of dubious sanity himself. The patient (Burton) offers the innocent orderly (Bridges) vast riches if he'll help him escape. Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
The film was selected to screen in competition at the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival in 1972 where it was nominated for three awards including the Golden Bear for Best Film. The movie won two Bears there, a Silver Bear for Best Actress for Elizabeth Taylor), and a Silver Bear for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution for actor-director Peter Ustinov. See more »
"Hammersmith Is Out" (1972)a hilarious take on "Faust" has stayed with me all these years. I hadn't seen it in almost 50 years, but when it came out on DVD, I had to buy it!
This movie is a scream!
Why it's so rarely on TV, cable or otherwise, is beyond me. I've only seen it listed twice in 40 years. It's directed with decidedly politically incorrect tongue-in-cheek satirical panache by none other than Peter Ustinov, letting down his stiff British upper lip.
Richard Burton as Hammersmith was in full-blown "have fun living life with a nod, a wink and a fifth of Scotch" phase, this coming at the phase-out of the Swingin' Sixties and four years after the masterfully, purposefully over-the-top glory of his poet, Macphisto, in the cinematic wonder that is "Candy" (1968).
Through a manner I'll never explain (my lips are sealed), complete psycho Svengali Hammersmith is able to turn the absolute dumbest hayseed the world has ever known, Billy Breedlove (Beau Bridges, who's a riot) into the world's richest man.
Along the way, they pick up the dame, an almost equally dumb and hilarious Elizabeth Taylor, who is such a knockout that words defy description. Zonga!
One pretty good example of Ustinov's ribald, blue-collar Southern type of comedy this is, is demonstrated by the band playing onstage at a club the trio check out: it's an all-girl topless band called the Tits.
Let's hope some enterprising programmer digs this one out. The world must see "Hammersmith Is Out"!.
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