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A Fine Madness


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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 (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ERVK3K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,486 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

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

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

Customer Reviews

This is one of my favorite films.
Henry T. Sadowski
Certainly with the domestic violence done for comic-effect, this film would not be remade today.
John Nava
At the very least you can say that the makers of "A Fine Madness" attempt something different.
David Baldwin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By David Dearborn on 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 By Haplo Wolf on 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 By David Dearborn on 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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Format: DVD
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 intentioned, it just doesn't quite work. The film is really not all that funny.

Based on Elliott Baker's novel, Connery plays frustrated New York poet Samson Shillitoe who's is suffering from writer's block. Unfortunately, Samson feels it's his duty to make everybody around him suffer as well. He's a self-centered sexist and arrogant jerk! Women constantly swarm to him even to the point of taking their clothes off in front of him out of nowhere (a scene I'll go into detail later.) So, he's always cheating on his wife Rhoda (Joanne Woodward played to the hilt) as well as threatening to hit her everytime she tries to help him. Furthermore, he gets drunk and insults a women's auxillary group who hires him to read for them and was willing to pay him $200 that he needs for back alimony.

The core plot involves Rhoda's attempts to get professional phsyciatric help to cure Samson's writer's block. Something Samson loathes. The treatments fail even when surgery is induced and Samson is his usual arrogant and violent self. He smashes furniture and punches just about anyone who gets in his way and even throws Rhoda down a flight of stairs! And this is supposed to be played for laughs. Believe me, I'm not one for political correctness but as said before, this all just doesn't work very good.

The only scene that raised my eyebrows and gave me some serious chuckles happens early in the film. Samson, at this point, is working as a carpet cleaner and is assigned to working at an aerospace firm.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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. Their ambitions are higher than their success rate. They attempt to skewer the artistic mindset and the psychiatric profession but the humor in part is too manic to truly succeed. That said there are enough laughs here to give the film a qualified recommendation. Sean Connery is inspired as the poet disguised as a brawling, boozing, womanizing, blue-collar guy. Or is it vice versa? Joanne Woodward is Connery's match as his supportive long-suffering wife. There are any number of amusing setpieces here: Connery dressing down the ladies' auxiliary, Connery's confrontation's with the process server(John Fiedler, "Mr. Peterson" from the old "Bob Newhart" show), Connery playing the psychiatrist recordings of an unfaithful wife to her unsuspecting husband. A mixed bag, but give this film credit for aiming high and just missing the mark.
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