HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
Horror Crowd, The
Matthias & Maxime
Bullet for the President, A
Constant Husband, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
   
 
  Cold Turkey May Seriously Damage Your Health
Year: 1971
Director: Norman Lear
Stars: Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart, Pippa Scott, Tom Poston, Edward Everett Horton, Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding, Vincent Gardenia, Barnard Hughes, Graham Jarvis, Jean Stapleton, Barbara Cason, Judith Lowry, Sudie Bond, Paul Benedict, Woodrow Parfrey, M. Emmet Walsh
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Alfred Nobel had a problem. He was responsible for countless deaths having invented dynamite, but he did not wish to be remembered for that down the ages, so he created the Nobel Peace Prize which became his most celebrated legacy. This has been noted by tobacco giant employee Merwin Wren (Bob Newhart), who proposes an idea to the head of the Valiant company (Edward Everett Horton): they don't want to be infamous as a corporation which has caused millions of deaths, so how about a contest to make them look like humanitarians? How about they give twenty-five million dollars to the town which can give up smoking for a whole month?

Wren reasons their product is so addictive, their money has to be safe, and for a while there in Norman Lear's pointed comedy that appears to be the case, but when one town in Iowa which could really do with the cash manages to sign up with the residents' agreement, maybe the company's plans could backfire. Lear was mostly in films during the sixties - Cold Turkey was completed in 1969 but belatedly released two years later - though it is his pioneering sitcom work he will be most recalled for in the seventies, revolutionising the form for the decade with his mixture of social issues and character humour, and you can see strong indications of the way he was heading in this.

It has to be said as far as satire goes the material in Cold Turkey was something of a blunt instrument, yet precisely applied if that made sense, with broadly drawn personalities occupying a well nigh cartoonish world, especially when the condition of the title begins to kick in. Before that the town's local Reverend Clayton Brooks (Dick Van Dyke, one of many sitcom reliables past and future who starred among this movie's ensemble) has whipped up the area into a frenzy of inspiration, seeing to it that everyone there signs the petition and persuading the town drunk (Tom Poston) to leave for the duration because there's no way he has the will power to contribute.

One of the most successful running gags features the doctor (Barnard Hughes) who is so addicted to the cancer sticks that he represents the biggest liability: there's an amusing scene where he has to be practically wrestled to the ground in the operating theatre because he's found a cigarette from somewhere. That somewhere might be from Wren, who does his best to sabotage the drive but is continually foiled, that is until his final push - you're never quite sure of which way this is going to go, as it's such a black comedy that either result is possible, though the actual conclusion is far darker than you would likely anticipate. Mix in a bunch of montages of the population losing their tempers big time, and this was a comedy with a lot of laughs.

Though only if you were willing to go along with the kind of humour that satisfied in the way that pulling your underwear out of the crack of your ass on a hot, sticky day satisfied, it was that sort of tone that Lear was aiming for, practically rubbing the audience's nose in the grimier aspects of life and making them palatable for humour because they were so unpleasant they became ridiculous. And yet, he had a clear-eyed view of the foibles and failings of modern society, where they would rather indulge in something that was likely killing them because the alternative was all too uncomfortable: getting through lives without something to soothe the pain that an addiction can assist with. They do say giving up the coffin nails is more difficult that giving up heroin, and watching this lot you can believe it, brought to vivid insanity by a great cast, including Pippa Scott as the Reverend's almost silent wife or Judith Lowry as the foul-mouthed little old lady of the libertarians. By taking in such wide targets, Lear was unexpectedly exacting. Music by Randy Newman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1515 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: