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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Stupid, Funny, Sick

Author: joewill2001 from Middle of America
30 October 2004

A great movie based on what should have been a very weak plot. Most American viewers will probably only recognise Jonathan Pryce (and potentially Vanessa Redgrave), but the rest of the cast do themselves proud.

There is the kind, but absolutely incompetent and differential junior management trainee that is a klutz that causes the problems to begin in the first place - Ian Littleton

The evil manager without any scruples or morals (and little commonsense) - Mr Farris

The kind, but weak and pitiful old owner of the company that has little choice but to follow along with Farris' plans - Mr. Chumley

The dingbat, older secretary, "People don't want chocolates with cows and pigs in them. People want chocolates with people in them". - Ethel

The clumsy, witless scientist/chemist who falls for Ian. She's a scatterbrain, but very buxom and sexy (played by Sammi Davis)- Felicity

Finally there's Mrs. Garza (Vanessa Redgrave). There's no way to properly describe her - aging seductress, blue collar lover, uninhibited, amusing. I'm not sure if others will love her character or have slight shudders as they remember the date they couldn't escape from. You've got to see her!

The movie flows along reasonably enough; however, there are a few places where it drags and the ending seems a bit weak and ill contrived.

I highly recommend this movie for anyone that needs a slightly sick comedy. It generally won't have you laughing (if it does you might need professional help), at least not out loud, but like a train wreck you just can't stop watching.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

An overlooked gem of a comedy

Author: augustian from United Kingdom
12 June 2011

I had never heard of this film until a few months ago when I saw it being advertised on ebay and decided to give it a try. Written by Monty Python regulars, Michael Palin and Terry Jones, this film has the feel of a Norman Wisdom film but thankfully without the pathos stage that seems to form a staple element of Mr. Wisdom's comedies.

Ian Littleton (Tyler Butterworth) is the hapless new employee who, by a tragic misunderstanding adds the human ingredient into Chumley's chocolate. At first, the new flavour is unpopular but gradually the public take to it so much that it becomes the must-have confectionery. The problem is, of course, that more humans must be found to to maintain the chocolate's success and no stone is left unturned in the search for more of the magic ingredient.

The film moves along at a fair pace with all the cast giving first class performances. Most notably, Vanessa Redgrave looks to be having the most fun playing the predatory suburban housewife, Mrs Garza. Prunella Scales (Fawlty Towers) displays her professionalism as the scatty secretary, Ethel; and Freddie Jones is the bumbling Mr Chumley. I think this film deserves stars.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely Bloody Marvellous

Author: Paul Evans from Swansea, United Kingdom
21 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to be honest, I'd always had vague memories of this film from my childhood, someone very kindly emailed me to let me knew the title, I watched it recently again, and again, and again. It's just so funny and so well made. The acting is wonderful, Freddie Jones is simply glorious as bumbling Mr Chumley, Jonathan Pryce is a typical 80's yuppy businessman and superb. For me it has to be Vanessa Redgrave as Maltese Mrs Garza that makes it, she is hilarious and such a giggle. A wickedly dark and sumptuous film, ooh I also love Prunella Scales in it, the lines she has are hilarious, 'Semen in the chocolate, thats not very nice love' hehe, I loved it, see what you think :-)

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Seemingly the only person in England that remembers this film!

Author: theamazingkazoo from London
5 September 2002

I have fond memories of this film when it first came out. It has probably dated badly in the mean time. But is probably worth a watch for the nypho landlady, budding tips on how to perk up your chocolate making skills with a corpse or two and Wincey Willis?!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

This is one of my personal favorites, as well!

Author: crystalart from United States
31 May 2011

I tell friends this is the funniest film about cannibalism I've ever seen! I've put in on wish lists, tried Netflix, everything, and I can't find it on DVD.

Fortuntely, I do have a pretty good VHS I can watch whenever I like.

It was my first exposure to Sammi Davis, who later turned up in Quentin Tarantino's "Four Rooms" in her voluptuous best.

The Monty Python influence is obvious. After all Michael Palin and Terry Jones put it together. Terry Gilliam did "Brazil" and here's Jonathan Price. He and Michael Palin starred in Brazil. Another very dark and humorous film.

Finally, there's the totally wonderful Vanessa Redgrave.

Enjoy it if you can find it.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic Comedy with blackest of Black Humor

Author: drdancm-2 from United States
22 October 2006

From the very beginning when some poor worker falls into the churning funnel of a vat of chocolate, this delightful, brilliant comedy is ready to have you falling out of your chair. Once you accept to suspend disbelief, you can't help but enjoy the wonderful wacky characters that inhabit this film.

Vanessa Redgrave gives a brilliant and memorable performance as the passion filled widow who takes the meek protagonist in hand and knocks his socks off. She is absolutely hilarious.

I can't believe the poor average rating that this film has garnered so far, and I can only guess that the people who rated this film lack the capacity to understand black humor.

Any fans of Monty Python, Mr. Bean, or Tracy Ullman will probably "get" the humor of this quiet, under-appreciated masterpiece.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A very black, sick comedy that is just wonderful.

Author: Irving Warner from Washington State
19 November 2000

This is about very stupid people; also, it is about very greedy people. All of them come together in Old Chum's Chocolate factory which, of late, has added a wee extra ingredient to their new line of super-awful candies. The entire cast is dynamite, but the overall humor is black, to blacker. This isn't a movie for the Chuckle And Sideslap crowd, but for the much more stout-hearted comedy buff.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great Gallows Humor & Ms. Redgrave too!!!!

Author: LSTHNSTMAN from United States
2 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I truly enjoyed the movie. I rented it some years ago at a Blockbuster Video store, unfortunately now defunct, and bought it at a flea market for a pittance. Fifty Cents to be precise. It stars slow but I figured it would move along and so it did. A young man who is inexperienced in both regular business and monkey business, wants to move "up" in the company as well as win the heart of his lady fair, but in the latter he is very inexperienced The accident he witnesses makes the company's product taste great and boosts sales. But he is told by the company (his boss) to get a disclaimer from the families of those who wound up in the chocolate. Two of three go well, actually 3 of 3 go well as the widow lady he meets Mrs. Garza has a sexual appetite second to none, and trains him in all the ways needed to win his lady fair. I wish I had a Mrs. Garza in my life.

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4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Tasty satire missing some important ingredients...

Author: Christopher T. Chase ( from Arlington, VA.
27 September 2001

Exploring themes that have been covered before to varying degrees of success by Sondheim (SWEENEY TODD) and director Antonia Bird in the even darker horror-comedy RAVENOUS, PASSIONS is a marvelous concept, but it seems as if something got lost in the translation from play to screenplay. Pythonites take heed; Terry Jones and Michael Palin wrote the play SECRETS, then adapted that for the screenplay, but this is Swiftian satire that's pitch black even by Python's standards.

I guess a considerable part of what the problems are with this movie lie in Giles Foster's direction. He doesn't seem to be sure if he's making an all-out slap-schticky farce, or a savage "veddy-veddy" British comedy of human foibles and frailties. In trying to give us the best of both worlds, the film suffers instead from a kind of unfocused schizophrenia.

What wonders would have been wrought if Terry Gilliam had directed, and Palin had taken the starring role (which seems to be written for him anyway), thereby completing the Python connection? Alas, we'll never know, but as it is, it's not half bad, and you could do MUCH worse.

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2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Do chocolate shocks come too late?

Author: dbdumonteil
4 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Human flesh has often been the missing secret mysterious ingredient of many films.In sci-fi ("Solyent Green" ) ,in horror ("Motel Hell" ) or comedy ("delicatessen").Even Shakespeare knew the trick ("Titus Andronicus").

It is evident that the writers here try too hard slapstick and not enough subtle black humor.There are plenty of ideas in "consuming passions" but most of them are wasted:the chocolate made without chocolate,the new "very special" products which the consumers praise to the skies ,the bubble head blond which is overjoyed cause her tests prove her right.

But the weakest link is Vanessa Redrave's part.How could one of the greatest living English thespians have agreed to play such a demeaning part of a ludicrous nymphomaniac?Butterworth is some kind of Jim Carrey clone(the naive-young-man-who-proves-he-is-smart-and-ambitious).

A clever director would have kept all that is good (all the black humor side) ,ruled out the widow's part and made a not politically correct movie.Some say Terry Gilliam.They are probably right.

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