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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"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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