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A Fine Madness (1966)

Sean Connery , Joanne Woodward , Irvin Kershner  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sean Connery, Joanne Woodward, Jean Seberg, Patrick O'Neal, Colleen Dewhurst
  • Directors: Irvin Kershner
  • Writers: Elliott Baker
  • Producers: Jerome Hellman
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 20, 2006
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ERVK3K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,506 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Fine Madness" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Vintage featurette: "Mondo Connery"
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A Fine Madness would never pass muster by today's politically correct standards. The "hero" of this 1966 comedy, a pompous poet named Samson Shillitoe (Sean Connery, doing a Saturday Night Live version of himself), is a classic bad boy--"an exact cross between Dylan Thomas and Mike Tyson," as one reviewer put it, a sexist philanderer who reneges on alimony to his first wife and punches out his second (Joanne Woodward, shrill and tiresome), can't keep a job, and insults, alienates, and abuses anyone who comes within two feet of him. (All of which makes him a total chick magnet, because he's an artist who has no time for quotidian vicissitudes, and also because he's Sean Connery.) Even taking the cultural time warp into account, it's hard to say what Irvin Kershner, who directed Elliott Baker's script from Baker's own novel, had in mind here, other than showing that Connery could do something besides play James Bond (in fact, the film was both preceded and followed by Bond adventures). Samson is an unredeemable jerk, the other characters are mostly unlikable as well, and the story, which involves psychiatrist Patrick O'Neal ordering him to undergo a lobotomy after he seduces the good doc's wife (Jean Seberg), is unconvincingly resolved. The film does a decent job of skewering the psychiatric profession and its pretensions, and Samson is probably meant to embody the whole screw-the-establishment ethos of the '60s, but overall, A Fine Madness is dated and simply not funny enough. One footnote: Kershner went on to bigger and better things with Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. Ironically, he also directed Never Say Never Again, a 1983 Bond film with none other than Sean Connery as 007. --Sam Graham

Product Description

Genius, poet and carpet cleaner Samson Shillitoe (Sean Connery) has writer's block - and he can't bluster, clobber or curse it away. But just watch him take Manhattan by storm trying in this whirlwind comedy! It's a certifiable case of A Fine Madness, as nonconformist Samson and his beleaguered wife (Joanne Woodward) plunge into a series of daffy disasters from which he still comes up smiling. That is, until he dallies with the lovely wife (Jean Seberg) of a scheming psychiatrist (Patrick O'Neal), who seeks revenge by prescribing "brain surgery." Shillitoe will need the might of Samson to face down his foes, but with Connery's full-tilt charisma and Irvin Kershner's buoyant direction, it's flinty, funny entertainment. Director: Irvin Kershner Starring: Sean Connery, Joanne Woodward, Jean Seberg

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And now for something completely different March 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Sean Connery sinks his teeth into a full-blooded comic role as a nonconformist poet suffering from writer's block and alimony collectors in mid-1960s New York. The film's madcap style is a bit dated but there are many gems of scenes in this satire of the misunderstood artist in cultureless society. Watching Connery drink and snarl through a poetry 'recital' at a ladies' tea is hysterical, and his little dance on the Brooklyn Bridge is among the revelations. It's interesting that 'A Fine Madness' makes a point of being a NYC movie, and an offbeat one at that, with its bawdiness hinting at the coming sexual revolution and featuring an international superstar who had the energy to stretch himself in something risky--which is more than we can say for most of today's typecast stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat Busy at Times, But Mostly Good. December 10, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Sean Connery plays a poet suffering from writer's block (incapacity to write something one feels is a finished creation, sort of; or not being able to write at all). He's the (supposedly) unrecognized genius and is as a by-product also totally different than most other people: he sees the world through different eyes, or so to speak. This is, alas, not portrayed as I would have liked to see; it's only more or less stated/presumed.
Next to this he does not pay his bills, is unemployed and not seeking for work, or, if he has a job, losing it easily. And he goes from one woman to the next ... they flock to him, he thinks, so they're not his problem. Samson Shillitoe (Connery) is, in short, sexist and insensitive. He also has the habit of almost-hitting his wife whenever he feels like doing that.
He only wants to work on his poem, and he needs, above all, time and rest. Neither seem to be available in considerable quantities, especially not if the past keeps getting in the way.
Lots of problems, but they're in the case of A Fine Madness tackled with comedy. While I thought the film was at all times amusing, certain scenes stood out. One other reviewer (there are at this time only 3 or so; you'll find him/her) mentioned the poetry recital. Good material!
I just hope you like the style of this film. Somewhat dated, yes, but what do you want? This is how old? From the sixties? I forgot.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And now for something completely different... February 27, 2000
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Sean Connery sinks his teeth into a full-blooded comic role as a nonconformist poet suffering from writer's block and alimony collectors in mid-60s New York. The film's madcap style is a bit dated but there are many gems of scenes in this satire of the misunderstood artist in modern society. Watching Connery snarl through a poetry 'recital' at a society tea is hysterical, and his little dance step on the Brooklyn Bridge is among the revelations. It's interesting that 'A Fine Madness' is very much a New York City movie, and an offbeat one at that, with hints of the coming sexual revolution and starring an international sensation who had the energy to stretch himself against typecasting--which is more than we can say for most of today's action stars.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Interesting Connery Choice June 24, 2005
By FilmFan
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Connery was sort of the Johnny Depp of the Sixties/Seventies in that he was a handsome leading-man type who always was trying to break loose from the "Bond" straightjacket by choosing offbeat, interesting, "challenging" roles when he wasn't saving the world as 007. (The only place Connery wouldn't DARE go back then are the fey, semi-gay characters Depp will occasionally take on. Sean had/has WAY too much "Scottish Macho" flowing through his veins to "go gay"! It would be like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood playing gay!) Anyway, he tackled this against-type role of rollicking, blue-collar poet Sampson Shillitoe. (Albeit, Gawd knows, Shillitoe is a strutting, bristlingly macho, overloaded-with-testosterone, thoroughly HETEROSEXUAL poet---sort of what Norman Mailer would be if he was a poet & not a prose writer.) When the role was somewhat customized in this way to suit Connery's screen persona, he succeeded in pulling off a bravura comic performance. As previous posters have mentioned, highlights are his hilariously disastrous, drunken recital at some high-society Ladies' Social Club & his explosive display of feeling-the-touch-of-God creative joy on the (Brooklyn?) Bridge. The macho/near abusive attitudes toward women are now very dated (as they now are in the early "Bond" films), but the movie is definitely a keeper, a nearly-forgotten, flawed gem.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Film June 5, 2014
Format:DVD
This is one of my favorite films. The PC crowd won't like it, but who cares what they think. It's a wonderful film about an individual who is focused on his work, doesn't give a rat's ass about social convention or what other people think is right, and who lives each day to the fullest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great classic with two great stars March 1, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I always enjoy this great movie, and decided to buy it, so I enjoy it at any time. It's a crazy storyline, and it also reminds me of another great movie, "They might be Giants".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Connery does comedy! January 14, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Sean Connery for a long time, and this film, made in his James Bond era when he was youthful, is a pleasant change of pace for him. He does comedy well, and the carefree character he plays is completely different from any other role I've seen him in. If you are a Sean Connery fan, or if you enjoy a '60's era comedy celebrating a free spirit, you'll love this movie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars He just wants to finish his poem
This is a product of the 60's from the opening credits to the end.

A potentially great poet owes alimony to his former wife. Read more
Published 20 months ago by bernie
2.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Mess
There was a type of movie character in the mid to late 60's--particularly in British films--the egotistical, sexist charmer--the British cad, if you will. Read more
Published on August 16, 2011 by John Nava
3.0 out of 5 stars So-So Film With a Very Different Connery
I saw this film in the 70s on TV and didn't really think much of it then and still don't today. This was Sean's first major break from the Bond typecast, and although well... Read more
Published on December 16, 2009 by Dr. O'Boogie
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
Made in 1966. The film depicts several aspects of that eras norms. If one considers cheating husband, spousal abuse, unethical psychiatric practices, and labotomy not... Read more
Published on April 5, 2007 by B. Earley
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Original Comedy
At the very least you can say that the makers of "A Fine Madness" attempt something different. That's not to say they hit a bulls-eye,though. Read more
Published on July 26, 2006 by David Baldwin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fantasy
I loved Joanne Woodward and Sean Connery (and everybody else) and I loved this movie. It was the purest of fiction. But it was a delight. Read more
Published on July 5, 2006 by Joseph Hart
1.0 out of 5 stars BOR - - - ING!
An unemployed (and unemployable) poet supported by his waitress girlfriend. Need I say more?
Published on June 21, 2006 by sedonaman
5.0 out of 5 stars A hidden cult movie !
Sean Connery played hard and won with this delicious , ironic and bitter comedy about a poet in the middle of a crisis . Read more
Published on November 21, 2004 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
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