6.9/10
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Hoffman (1970)

GP | | Comedy | August 1971 (USA)
A businessman blackmails his attractive young secretary into spending a weekend with him. Though he's a creep throughout, he gradually emerges as a sympathetic character.

Director:

Alvin Rakoff

Writers:

Ernest Gebler (screenplay) (as Ernest Gébler), Ernest Gebler (based upon his own novel) (as Ernest Gébler)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Peter Sellers ... Mr. Hoffman
Sinéad Cusack ... Miss Smith
Jeremy Bulloch ... Tom Mitchell
Ruth Dunning ... Mrs. Mitchell
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Storyline

A lonely executive Blackmails a young girl from the steno pool into spending a week with him at his flat. Full of wonderful mind games and dialogue Mister Hoffman only wants to share his love. The rather typical plot really involves only two people through out giving us lots of time to see what they can do. Written by The Kid @ Bellevue

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

August 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amor a la inglesa See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter Sellers' character from this film, was the closest one in resembling the real man off screen. See more »

Goofs

When Hoffman and Janet Smith are having dinner in the apartment, there is a salad bowl immediately off Hoffman's right wrist in the camera shot to his face. Hoffman reaches for the wine, has both hands occupied and when the camera angle shifts to over his shoulder, the salad bowl has moved to the place mat between them which was empty in the previous camera angle. See more »

Quotes

Miss Janet Smith: There's something I want to ask you.
Benjamin Hoffman: What is it you want to ask me?
Miss Janet Smith: Can I give up going to work?
Benjamin Hoffman: ...Yes.
Miss Janet Smith: And can I have piano lessons?
Benjamin Hoffman: Yes.
Miss Janet Smith: From a real teacher?
Benjamin Hoffman: Yes.
Miss Janet Smith: And can I choose the things for the new kitchen?
Benjamin Hoffman: Yes.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Il comune senso del pudore (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

If there ever Is a next time
Sung by Matt Monro
Music by Ron Grainer
Lyrics by Don Black
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hoffman (Alvin Rakoff, 1970) **1/2
28 December 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This is at once one of Peter Sellers' least-known and more interesting vehicles; the film is virtually a two-hander – with Sinead Cusack (daughter of actor Cyril and later Mrs. Jeremy Irons) as the young girl blackmailed by a middle-aged colleague (Sellers) into becoming his lover, because he knows of her boyfriend's involvement in a robbery.

While the film is considered a comedy, it doesn't sound like it from that synopsis; it's really a character-driven piece on a serious theme – mid-life crisis – which has been treated several times over the years, though rarely in such perceptively intimate detail (for which it was deemed tasteless at the time). The humorous element (if one can call it that) springs from the fact that Sellers' character – who had been fantasizing about Cusack for months – doesn't have the courage to do anything with her once they're together! Incidentally, Hoffman's innately cruel nature was so similar to the real Peter Sellers that one might be inclined to think that his dialogue was improvised – but this wasn't the case!

With this in mind, the film can be seen as talky (though Ernest Gebler's script, adapted from his own novel, does contain a smattering of good lines), low-key and claustrophobic (the narrative strays only occasionally from Sellers' flat, and the two almost never interact with other people) – not to mention repetitive and overstretched at 113 minutes! One particular sequence included an ambitious shot lasting for some 18 minutes, which certainly belied the rumors that Sellers had suffered brain damage during that infamous incident from the early 1960s in which he suffered no less than seven heart attacks in one day. The film's happy-ending-of-sorts, then, is highly improbable – but I guess it works well enough in this context (given that Cusack's boyfriend is depicted as a one-dimensional character and, therefore, no match for the intellectual Sellers).

Gerry Turpin's cinematography of the bleak London settings is one of the film's main assets, while the tone of romantic melancholy – inherent in Ron Grainer's score and his Don Black-penned theme song, "If There Ever Is A Next Time" (sung by Matt Monro) – infuses the whole film and even serves as exposition for the main narrative during its deliberately vague early stages. By the way, director Rakoff had already handled the same material as a TV production starring Donald Pleasance; at his own admission, the film version was too slow – because the pace seemed to be dictated by the lead actor – and professed to having misgivings also about the choice of music. As for Sellers himself, he was so disappointed with the final result that the star offered to buy back the negative from the producer and shoot it again from scratch (the film, in fact, was such a resounding flop that it wasn't shown in New York until 1982)!


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