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A Fine Madness (1966)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 23 September 1966 (Finland)
3:27 | Trailer

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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.



(screenplay), (based upon the novel by)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Samson Shillitoe
... Rhoda Shillitoe
... Lydia West
... Dr. Oliver West
... Dr. Vera Kropotkin
... Dr. Menken
... Dr. Freddie Vorbeck
... Daniel K. Papp
... Mrs. Fish
... Mr. Fitzgerald
... Evelyn Tupperman
... Leonard Tupperman
... Miss Walnicki
Bibi Osterwald ... Mrs. Fitzgerald
... Chairwoman


Samson Shillitoe is a New York 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 he ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Any time... any place... at any game... Samson Shillitoe can out-fox them all!! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 September 1966 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Simson ist nicht zu schlagen  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The scene involving a topless Sue Ane Langdon and Sean Connery near the film's beginning was the subject of a photo feature in Playboy Magazine. 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 »


Dr. Vorbeck: An American making love is like a Hungarian playing baseball.
See more »


Referenced in What's My Line?: Episode dated 3 October 1965 (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

A Fine Waste of Celluloid
13 April 2003 | by See all my reviews

Okay, to borrow a few things from the previous commenter's observations, sure, this is an adaptation from a novel, and apparently the main character is an obnoxious lout who happens to be a genius.

Here's where this film fails in just about every department.

Not for a second do we buy that Sean Connery's Samson is a "genius" in any sense of the word. He's a thick-headed brute who hollers anti-establishment rants that really aren't enlightened nor are they particularly radical. The fact is, though, that he hollers a lot. There is no modulation to Connery's performance. No sense of a human being in there. His character is drawn to just be the hunky societal interloper whose mere physicality and scowls suggest a counterpoint to everyday norm. Genius, he is not.

Topping poor Connery in the shouting department is the screeching yowl of Joanne Woodward, whose hapless wife character of Samson, Rhoda, is given all the depth of a punching bag (literally). Connery takes swipes at her head, connecting with her skull in the end, along with throwing every dish in the apartment in her direction. He even shoves her down the staircase resulting in a broken leg, and perhaps, 1960's sentiments saw this as an uproarious moment of hilarity. You know, madcap abuse of the wife is always so mercilessly humorous. Anyway, you get the picture (reference the above reference to "thick-headed brute").

Jean Seberg is absolutely wasted in this performance. She plays the stifled wife of a renowned psychiatrist, Patrick O'Neal, who for some reason, and quite illogically I can only add, winds up having sex with Connery in a whirlpool bath and then dumping him the next time she sees him. There is no logic in having her character even in this film other than to flesh out the above-the-line star wattage on the marquee.

Only Clive Revill, playing a hare-brained psycho-therapist in every sense of the word, cuts loose with the material and lends a Peter-Sellers-like diversion for a total of 3 minutes screen time.

I cannot conceive of any audience, whether in the '60s or today, eliciting anything more than ho-hum chuckle and a wan smile over this pale comedy with absolutely no focus and one of cinema's most ill-conceived one-note main characters.

My rating: 1 out of 5 stars.

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