Samson Shillitoe, mad genius of a poet irresistible to women, but plagued by writer's block, agrees to see a psychiatrist, and his beautiful wife.


Irvin Kershner


Elliott Baker (screenplay), Elliott Baker (based upon the novel by)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Connery ... Samson Shillitoe
Joanne Woodward ... Rhoda Shillitoe
Jean Seberg ... Lydia West
Patrick O'Neal ... Dr. Oliver West
Colleen Dewhurst ... Dr. Vera Kropotkin
Clive Revill ... Dr. Menken
Werner Peters ... Dr. Freddie Vorbeck
John Fiedler ... Daniel K. Papp
Kay Medford ... Mrs. Fish
Jackie Coogan ... Mr. Fitzgerald
Zohra Lampert ... Evelyn Tupperman
Sorrell Booke ... Leonard Tupperman
Sue Ane Langdon ... Miss Walnicki
Bibi Osterwald ... Mrs. Fitzgerald
Mabel Albertson ... Chairwoman


Samson Shillitoe is a New York City based poet with some renown and great promise, but he is a troubled man which is causing him some current problems. He is four months behind in alimony payments, with his day job as a carpet cleaner unable to clear that outstanding debt. He, however, sees this problem more as one for the courts, the police, and his ex-wife Beverly than it is for him. He has difficulties not acting upon his general attraction to women, they, in return, apt to act on those same attractions. And he has a case of writer's block while he is in the process of writing what he considers his great epic poem, it already having been five years in the process and counting. He may be substituting sex for that inability to write. His long suffering and loyal current wife, working class Rhoda Shillitoe, believes Samson's problems, which are also manifesting themselves in increasing violent tendencies, although any violence directed toward her she knows is only in jest as she knows... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


If this movie was any wilder you'd have to see it in a cage... See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Sorrell Booke and Mabel Albertson would later co-star again in 'What's Up, Doc?' (1972). See more »


While Leonard Tupperman is talking to Samson, he says he is paying $35 'per minute' (should be per hour, or session). See more »


Mrs. Fish: [about Leonard] That mensch! He's got a heart as black as the ace of diamonds!
See more »


Featured in Cinema: Alguns Cortes - Censura III (2015) See more »

User Reviews

Yep. It's Gotta Be Big, Handsome Samson's Way, Or Nothing!
23 June 2015 | by strong-122-478885See all my reviews

If ever there was an award given out for "Most Outrageously, Sexist-Minded Film Ever (of the 1960s, that is)", I think that A Fine Madness would, most definitely, be a sure-fire winner.

And, with that said - If you are, indeed, a total feminist (or a feminist-hugger), I guarantee you that frequent key moments throughout this utterly absurd comedy will surely get your dander up like no other film from that era ever has. (I'm not kidding about this, folks!)

Of course, in order to get any sort of real entertainment value out of A Fine Madness's story one must keep it firmly in mind that here is a film that is a complete product of its time. This is a picture that proudly beats its chest and clearly states that "Hey! This is a man's world!" (so if you're a woman you better like it, or lump it).

In my opinion - A Fine Madness was solely made to cash-in on Sean Connery's rugged animal magnetism and his equally virile screen-charisma (following his huge success playing James Bond in 1965's "Thunderball").

So, just be warned - If you're prone to detest a lead character who just happens to be nothing but a boozing, womanizing, wife-beating, loudmouth with a hair-trigger temper, then, believe me, you're probably not likely to find this comedy to be much of a laughing matter, in the long run.

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Release Date:

23 September 1966 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

A Fine Madness See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pan Arts, Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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