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How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989)

7.1
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Reviews: 33 user | 34 critic

Dennis Dimbleby Bagley is a brilliant young advertising executive who can't come up with a slogan to sell a revolutionary new pimple cream. His obsessive worrying affects not only his ... See full summary »

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Title: How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Denis Dimbleby Bagley
...
Julia Bagley
...
John Bristol
Jacqueline Tong ...
Penny Wheelstock
...
Psychiatrist
Susan Wooldridge ...
Monica
Hugh Armstrong ...
Harry Wax
Mick Ford ...
Richard
Jacqueline Pearce ...
Maud
...
Waiter
Gino Melvazzi ...
Waiter
Victor Lucas ...
Tweedy Man
Dawn Keeler ...
Tweedy Woman
Kerryann White ...
Girl in Elevator
Vivienne McKone ...
Sullivan Bristol Receptionist
Edit

Storyline

Dennis Dimbleby Bagley is a brilliant young advertising executive who can't come up with a slogan to sell a revolutionary new pimple cream. His obsessive worrying affects not only his relationship with his wife, his friends and his boss, but also his own body - graphically demonstrated when he grows a large stress-related boil on his shoulder. But when the boil grows eyes and a mouth and starts talking, Bagley really begins to think he's lost his mind. But has he? Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Career Where Two Heads Are Better Than One

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 March 1990 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Come fare carriera nella pubblicità  »

Box Office

Gross:

$418,053 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The classic Aston Martin seen in the Bagleys' garage belonged to writer/director Bruce Robinson. A 1961 DB4 Convertible of which only 70 were made, he owned it for 30 years and it was auctioned off in 2008. See more »

Goofs

Dennis' boil grows on his right side, and when it gets bigger and finally takes over its still on the right side while his "real" head gets smaller and is on the left side. OK so far. But then they keep switching sides left to right, right to left. This happens several times. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Denis Dimbleby Bagley: Let me try and clarify some of this for you. Best Company Supermarkets are not interested in selling wholesome foods. They are not worried about the nation's health. What is concerning them, is that the nation appears to be getting worried about its health, and that is what's worrying Best Co., because Best Co. wants to go on selling them what it always has, i.e. white breads, baked beans, canned foods, and that suppurating, fat squirting little heart attack traditionally known as ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Melrose Place: My New Partner (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Oscillate Wildly
(uncredited)
Written by Johnny Marr
Performed by The Smiths
Courtesy of Rough Trade
See more »

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User Reviews

 
If your head comes away from your neck ...It's over
26 June 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Denis Bagley is a hot-shot advertiser who can do no wrong. he knows his client as well as he knows his own face, he can tell anybody who stars at the goggle box what to do, what to think and what to buy? His words are weapons of the consumer age and he will sell anything to anyone. Money is his to have and the general public buys what he tells them, giving him the power of a God. However, as he strikes a bit of a problem over pimple cream he starts to lose his edge, he is cnfronted by the realisation that maybe he is not the person he thinks he is, or wants to be, as he listens to a conversation on a train over a story written by the other people who tell everyone what to do, the popular press, he bursts the bubble of those discussing the story by pointing out that a bag of cannabis that could have contained cocaine, could also have contained a pork pie.

"It's the use of the word "Could"" Denis exclaims, as he realises that perhaps, the power that he has is being misused. As he decides to rid himself of advertising and turn a new leaf. However as he starts to develop a painful boil on his neck he starts to have anxiety pains over this turn of direction, resulting in his boil growing a face and speaking to him.

What happens from this point is a tour-de-force satire on the modern world that was arguably twenty years before its time as the commercial markets freedom has led to our current crop of problems, rather than to their solutions. Richard E Grent is amazing as the Ad Exec with an attack of conscience that takes on alarming results, with able support from Rachel Ward and Richard Wilson. The direction is good, but it is the razor sharp script that gets all the plaudits by challenging our perception of the real world as much as the Matrix, but with the certain knowledge that the questions raised in this film, we can address as the credits come up.

Know thyself.


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