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Velimir 'Bata' Zivojinovic
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>
Richard Burton's characterization of Hammersmith in this film has been considered somewhat of a precursor to Anthony Hopkins's screen characterization of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Both characters, "Hannibal" and "Hammersmith", are genius inmates who wear strait-jackets, both are psycho-killer murderers, both stare with their eye-balls rolled to the top of their eyelids, both escape from a psychiatric institution, and both have names that have three syllables, and begin with the letter "H". Moreover, the assistant mental hospital orderly character of Oldham in Hammersmith Is Out (1972) is played by Anthony Holland a name which is similar to Anthony Hopkins. See more »
[taking Hammersmith back to the asylum]
It's the end of a chapter, Hammersmith; time to turn the page.
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"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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