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Plot:

Samson Shillitoe is a New York City 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 would never purposefully hurt her physically, may lead to him trying to kill himself. After seeing him on a television talk show, Rhoda also believes that psychotherapist Dr. Oliver West is the answer to all of Samson’s problems. Although not wanting to speak to Dr. West about his life, Samson does eventually agree largely out of circumstance. One of those factors is that Samson’s creative juices are starting to flow and he sees Dr. West as a source of a place to hide away to write away from the police who are after him. But Samson’s association with Dr. West has its own complications, most specifically with Dr. West’s unhappy wife, Lydia West, whose unhappiness is largely out of neglect by her husband, and with Dr. Menken, a colleague of Dr. West’s, who is looking for a human subject to test his new surgical procedure, which is a lobotomy by any other name.

Also Known As: L'homme à la tête fêlée, Çılgın adam, Un loco maravilloso, Sublime Locura, Ihana hulluus, Altid i stødet, Simson ist nicht zu schlagen West, Krásné sílenství Czech, A Fine Madness, Ένας υπέροχος τρελός, Una splendida canaglia, Прекрасное безумие Soviet, En skön galenskap, A Malandro Encantador, Sublime Loucura, Simson ist nicht zu schlagen, Enas yperohos trellos

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  • chad-smith
    chad smith

    Samson Shillitoe (Sean Connery) is a frustrated poet and a ladies’ man in NYC. He’s hounded for alimony payments and threatened with jail. His live-in supportive waitress girlfriend Rhoda (Joanne Woodward) gets him a poetry reading gig at a high-class ladies group and it goes badly. She sends him to psychiatrist Dr. West to fix his writer’s block. Samson wants his money back but West directs him to a sanitarium for some peace and quiet. Dr. Menken wants to perform a lobotomy on him.Samson is bitter and angry. It’s very unBondlike. In other ways, he’s very Bond. He’s not likable either way. The movie has a couple of slapstick scenes that border on comedy. It’s a strange little film showing Connery in a different light.

  • erik-robertson
    erik robertson

    Cute music, New York street scenes, lots of pace, some really good actors, an audacious plot, probably ahead of its time, some delightful vignettes, so what went wrong? Probably the fact that it is neither funny nor illuminating. There is humour, mostly visual, but this is outweighed by Shillitoe’s wanton violence and abusiveness when thwarted. The film could not exist without Samson Shillitoe, no other set of characteristics would bring all those disparate plot and character elements together. You might say that Shillitoe is the creator of the story, indeed, of the little world that the film inhabits. As I watched, a memory began to surface, of the God Thor in Douglas Adams’ novel “The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul”. That, with Shillitoe’s obscure references to Apollo, and the failure of Menken’s surgery, suggest that Shillitoe is not mortal, but a God of the classical era come amongst us on a whim, or perhaps in exile. Anyway, that’s the only excuse I can think for for this shambles.

  • matti-hamalainen
    matti hamalainen

    I saw this film when it was first released. It was a “fish out of water” comedy, a coarse brute running rampant among effete elitists. At that time, I had a lot of contact with numerous psychiatrist/psychoanalysts. This film brilliantly caught the self satisfied pomposity, the self promotional tendencies, and the double standards of this group. The psychoanalysts couldn’t cope with this guy! I found this part of the film hilarious, although most of the humor would go unappreciated by those who didn’t know any people in the psychoanalytic world.I have seen this film many times since then. Much of it now makes me wince. The field of psychoanalysis has imploded and almost disappeared. Making fun of the pretensions of a now forgotten group of elitists is no longer very funny. Thus, it is a clumsy, sexist mild comedy. Yet, see it as a document of its time, and it is worthwhile.

  • gorazd-zagar
    gorazd zagar

    Female actors have to look back on their roles from days of yore and shake their heads. Things have certainly changed since the advent of The Pill. In this “wacky” comedy, Joanne Woodward plays a role that today would be unplayable, probably unwritable even by a hack like Elliott Baker Cohen. She is Rhoda, the long-suffering partner of mad poet Samson Shillitoe. I have met Shillitoes, and they all dream of owning a Rhoda, but today such a creature has to be ordered by mail from the Philippines, because they ain’t makin’ em any more round here. Rhoda runs after Shillitoe, shouting, then she runs after a shrink, shouting, then she runs after Shillitoe, shouting, some more. Finally, she tells him she’s pregnant and he socks her in the head. In between, he beds several susceptible females who yearn for his life-force. Shillitoe never really exists, he’s just Life Force write large, and Sean Connery blunders through the part just adequately. Rhoda is a fantasy, and Joanne Woodward — well, I bet Joanne never pulls this movie off her shelf. The lovely Jean Seberg is totally wasted and delivers nothing except a rather titivating gusset-shot when her husband’s friend tries to rape her. At least this movie pays lip-service to literature, but the sexism is too much to take.

  • kim-martinsen
    kim martinsen

    Plot in a nutshell: An anti-social poet (Sean Connery) short on cash and suffering from writer’s block is sent to a shrink by his wife (Joanne Woodward). Naturally, things only get worse. Polarizing mid-60s screwball comedy has some very funny bits here and there, but suffers from over-length and some very dated “to the moon, Alice!” style humor that will undoubtedly rub modern audiences the wrong way. Connery gives his all in a go for broke performance that he probably hoped would help off-set his James Bond image (never mind that his self-destructive poet still fools around with women despite claiming he doesn’t like them) but the character is so unlikable that some of the humor falls flat. Other reviewers on here have said that comedy was not old Sean’s strong point as a performer; I don’t really agree with that (he was after all hilarious as the bumbling father of Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade) but feel it was really more that the character was a hard sell to begin with – and would have been for any actor. The rest of the cast do the best they can with what’s there. It’s a little sad watching the late Jean Seberg in this film, seeing her so young, so beautiful, so obviously a fine actress wasting what little time she was going to have in such an unsatisfying comedy as the desperate, sexually frustrated housewife of the primary doctor who finds an afternoon’s delight with Connery – and is later hilariously horrified (admittedly one of the film’s better moments) to find that he seriously expects her to just roommate with him and his unhappy wife when she expresses an interest in trying to be something more.Of interest mostly for fans of the stars and fans of the 60s.

  • mieszko-myszak
    mieszko myszak

    This 1966 comedy by Warner Brothers pretty much nailed the fad of “free love” from the sexual revolution. Sean Connery plays Samson Shillitoe, a divorcée who’s remarried. But he accommodates other women as well – any and all, who come on to him. It’s definitely not a family film, and not much of a comedy either. The only reason I could see Connery and Joanne Woodward (who plays Rhoda Shillitoe) doing this film is for their roles. They are very good at these diverse, different characters, and show their acting talent. But for their excellent acting, “A Fine Madness” wouldn’t rate more than one star. The screenplay is downright terrible, and the story has more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese. Comedies are supposed to make one laugh, but this one fails on that score as well.

  • jari-groen-recers
    jari groen recers

    “A Fine Madness” despite being something of a bumpy ride won me over with its well meaning driving energy. It has a certain wild charm about it, but ultimately what really makes it worth a look is the performance of Sean Connery.Connery clearly desperate to escape the James Bond mould takes on the role of a non conformist borderline nutcase poet with the unlikely name of Samson Shilitoe. Although this might sound like an impossible transition, Connery with his powerful presence and loads of charisma plunges into the role and turns in a riveting performance.There’s also fine support from Joanne Woodward, Colleen Dewhurst and Clive Revill. The only disappointment is Jean Seberg who seems wasted in an underwritten thankless part.For Connery fans this is essential viewing but others too may be surprised by this somewhat beguiling movie.

  • peter-novak
    peter novak

    A Fine Madness (1966)Plot In A Paragraph: Samson Shillitoe (Connery) a genius poet, who is irresistible to women but is plagued by writer’s block. I hate this movie. I bought a copy from France when I hadn’t seen it, but wanted to complete my Connery collection. The collector in me is glad I did, but personally I wish I hadn’t wasted my money. If you find Connery using his wife (Joanne Woodward) as a punching bag funny, you may enjoy it, but I don’t find anything to laugh about here!! I will applaud Connery for trying something totally different in an attempt to move away from Bond, but I wish this wasn’t the movie he chose to do so!! This is only the second time I watched it, and I have turned it off. A Fine Madness tanked at the box office.

  • odintsova-tamara-kharitonovna
    odintsova tamara kharitonovna

    Alright, this film is generally awful, admitedly…However, I always try to look at any motion picture in the context of it’s day and in it’s retrospective historical perspective.I like to look at movies as sociological studies, and the best ones transcend their time, becoming truly timeless.”A Fine Madness” fairly stinks of clueless farce. The filmmakers completely lacked any shred of inspiration; a must for ALL art, IMHO.Just looked at it; it’s big,loud and randy without any awareness of the cultural changes about to happen in the late 1960s. These artifacts are unintentionally funny, as with any generation gap showing the older generation trying to be hip, but just embarrassing themselves, as when the Rat Pack tried fruitlessly to stay cool in the late 60s. Hollywood was out of touch with the youth of the counter culture, and with some exceptions, like “Hard Days Night”, “Alfie”, “Medium Cool” and “Easy Rider”, most 1960s movies that tried to look authentic and relevant to the times, failed.So, despite its badly written characters, it’s hopelessly dated Psychiatric themes, its corrosively dated sexism and the apaulingly visionless, artless presentation, there ARE a few interesting elements.Clearly a big budget film, I was impressed by the progressive bravado that the director showed in manhandling New York City. These bold tracking shots and cunningly calculated hand held camera work was quite new for 1966. These classy looking outdoor location scenes merging actors staying in character with the hubbub of the steaming cauldren of street life in Manhattan could not have been pulled off with a small budget. Look at that amazing tracking shot of Connery running on the Brooklyn Bridge. Many neighborhoods were captured in a stunning naturalism that was unprecidented. So if nothing else, it is as amazing a record of the city as when Harold Lloyd caught it back in the 1920s.It’s too bad the story couldn’t have been embued with a great script. Perhaps something about the Village, with all it’s alternative zeal, and incorporating the changing times which the city was such a part of.The Music score tried to be wacky and inventive too…One could even see elements of Danny Elfman 30 years earlier, with all the big, burlesque horns and drums. Evidently the score was trying to compensate for the dull script and shrill, yet pedestrian performances by spicing up the soundtrack. But after a while the relentless music became as grating as Joanne Woodward’s shrill hollering voice.We have to wonder what Billy Wilder or Elia Kazan would have done for this material? Sigh…But Hollywood has always been bottom line, and wants to make its profit fast. Art? Who cares. Vision? Timelessness? Feh, sez the Movie Machine that has forever pandered to the lowest common denominator.One leaves this dreadful film with the notion that it was teetering right on the precepis of the Martini vs. Mariquana epochs and fell back into its pre-sexual revolution, postwar establishment ethos with the thud of someone who just missed his train.Interestingly and awkwardly, one is easily reminded of one of Connery’s famous statements in a latter interview where he cavalierly remarked that ‘Women should be hit now and then to keep them in line’, or something to that effect. One can imagine his brutish Samson saying the same thing in this antique archive of a darker time in American HIStory.

  • brandy-salazar
    brandy salazar

    This is the sort of movie that makes me ponder the whole time I’m watching it, “Who SHOULD have been in these roles?” Connery and Woodward really give it a good try, chewing big hunks out of the scenery, but they never convince, not for a moment. The role of earnest but ignorant and garrulous wife could have been played to perfection by Geraldine Page or, in an earlier and lighter version of the story, Judy Holliday. The role of Samson Shillitoe, deranged poet, could have been handled well by Jason Robards or Walter Matthau, and his mysterious attraction for women would have been more believable with the former, and more humorous with the latter.For me, the only real laughs came from the one short scene featuring pudgy businessman Sorrell Booke learning the facts about his wife’s hysteria. “You’ll ascertain MY virility????”I think they were trying for the kind of thing here where, like Alec Guiness’s deranged artist character in “The Horse’s Mouth,” the obnoxious jerk has a mysteriously endearing charm or ability that shines through despite his appalling behaviour, but this poet isn’t the horse’s mouth. Quite the opposite.If you enjoy the type of film that leaves you shaking your head and wondering why, this is definitely for you.

  • rebeca-padilla
    rebeca padilla

    When actors look back on their life’s work, there will be film that they will wonder why they ever agreed to be part of it.I suspect that this might be the case with this film for two very fine and talented actors. Sean Connery and Joanne Woodward.The central premise of a self centred, self obsessed, wife abusing poet called Samson being chased for various reasons by various people and creating havoc is a limp plot. Even for the 1960’s.As usual Sean Connery plays Sean Connery, but without his usual charismatic charm. Joanne Woodward’s shrill whine becomes annoying after ten minutes of listening to it, and the supporting actors all look slightly embarrassed, as if the director just said, “Go for it, we’ve got James Bond, so it should be a hit.” Not even a slightly good film, not even slightly a bad film, just an appallingly terrible film.

  • andrzej-pych
    andrzej pych

    “A Fine Madness” is a very strange movie. It stars Sean Connery (with a very strange performance, one of his worst – somewhere between Bond and a plain ruffian; frankly, I don’t think Connery is apt for any comedy at all) plus a lavish supporting cast consisting of renowned character actors – but, still, the film is horrible.It has an absolutely inane screenplay, and Irvin Kershner’s (lack of) direction leaves a most confusing impression, even considering the somewhat strange Sixties style which was “en vogue” then. (John Addison’s score, however is quite enjoyable.) You never know what’s going to happen, and worse, you’re not even interested in any of it. Nothing is truly funny, and some aspects are merely annoying (at least by today’s standards), e.g. the jocularity of a man beating up his female companion. Samson Shillitoe is a despicable character, so you don’t really convey any empathy for him or his needs. – What a waste of talent.

  • ian-de-luca
    ian de luca

    I never thought I’d see a movie in which Sean Connery, master of ironic understatement, could be accused of overacting. But there’s a scene here in which Connery has been paid two hundred dollars — he’s a blocked poet and down on his luck — to read before some ladies’ literary club. As he waits to be called to the speaker’s platform, bored, angry that he’s being forced by circumstances to be “a performer,” he polishes off a bottle or two of champagne. He’s hunched over at his table while a harpist precedes him on the stage. Getting drunker, he looks around at the women in the audience — and he sneers and scowls and frowns with fulsome disgust. It’s WAY too much. And, as if we were too dumb to understand, the director punctuates the scene with shots of the ladies in the audience — fat, overdressed, smiling at the heavenly music, sleeping, snoring, abstracted, and ugly. (Except for Jean Seberg, who is not at all ugly.) The title comes from Michael Drayton, who in 1627, referring to playwright Christopher Marlowe, wrote: “For that fine madness still he did retain Which rightly should possess a poet’s brain.” But this movie has a lot less to do with poetry than with madness. If we didn’t know Connery was a blocked poet, we’d just view him as a destructive and self-indulgent maniac. He hurls furniture at the walls and insults at strangers. He feels no remorse, no love, just anger. He takes a mean pleasure in revealing a psychiatrist’s stolen notes to a pathetic patient.The whole movie is ill conceived and over directed. It substitutes speed and noise for effective comedy. Slapstick needn’t be bad if there’s some wit propelling it. “The Pink Panther” was full of pratfalls but was a successful comedy. Here, the intent seems to be to overwhelm the audience with a foot pursuit across the Brooklyn Bridge, the demands placed on a harried waitress in a clangorous delicatessen.There is a plot, actually, gossamer but discernible. Connery is really out of control. Should he get the Menken intraorbital leukotomy? It’s a little reminiscent of “Morgan: A Suitable Case For Treatment.” But that film was both funny and tragic, whereas this is neither.I can’t tell whether or not Connery was asked to speak with a working-class New York accent or not. If he was, it was a mistake. Joanne Woodward, as his wife, does a little better with her acting and her accent. Jean Seberg is beautiful. A few more scenes of her running around in her skivvies would have helped. The production design is good, and there is a nice scene involving a plastic eye popping out of a plastic skull. The musical score is badly in need of a clinical dose of lithium carbonate. Open wide, please, the whole movie.

  • svenning-bach-dahl
    svenning bach dahl

    Deliciously off-beat characters interacting in some really standout scenes make “A Fine Madness” a really wonderfully must-see comedy. The movie boasts a terrific cast led by Sean Connery in one of his best roles, Joanne Woodward and Jean Seberg. Of course, a good cast and a whirlwind script rate for nothing if a sloppy or incompetent director is placed in charge – and I certainly had second thoughts when I saw the name, Irvin Kershner! His only previous movies – interspersed with a lot of TV work – were Stakeout on Dope Street, The Young Captives, A Face in the Rain and The Luck of Ginger Coffey. Not exactly what you would call an Academy Award list! But, to my great surprise, A Fine Madness is handled with verve and imagination. The magnificent photography contributed by Ted McCord must also be acknowledged. And so must the music score by John Addison. All told, the movie’s brisk pace never falters, thanks to a brilliant script by Elliott Baker, based on his own novel of the same title. In short, Baker has successfully brought off a daring attempt to instill a real Dickensian flavor into both novel and movie script. But be warned! My view is not shared by other critics. Russell Carnell, for example, described the movie as “incredibly dreary” and “predictable”.

  • rshmii-vikaavi
    rshmii vikaavi

    Sean Connery did make about half a dozen excellent non-James Bond Films. This is not one of them. They include “The Man Who Would Be King,” “Robin and Mariam,” “The Name of the Rose,” “The Untouchables,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” He is 80 years old now, and it would be nice if the Motion Picture Academy honored him with a lifetime achievement award (as the American Film Institute did in 2006).Here’s the positive side. There are some pretty shots of New York City circa 1966, giving the film a bit of a Neil Simon-Woody Allen look. The first half hour is fine. We get a good introduction of the characters. Connery messing up a Lady’s Club invitation to read his poetry is not as funny as it should have been, but is the funniest scene in the film.Unfortunately the film goes nowhere after that. There’s no character development and almost every comedy bit and scene falls flat. Many scenes are punctuated and underscored by loud, energetic music. This seems to be done on purpose to distract the audience from thinking, “What? Why is that supposed to be funny?” The name of Connery’s character is Samson Shillitoe. I assume that the name has something to do with the famous writer Stirling Silliphant. I’m not sure if the character had anything to do with the man.I do think Sean Connery and Joanne Woodward deserve some credit for developing their characters as much as they do. They are working hard, one might say frantically, to make something out of the script. Everybody else, including Jean Seberg, Patrick O’Neil, Coleen Dewhurst and Zohra Lampert are wasted in non-roles that should have been played by less talented actors.Altogether, not an enjoyable film, but possibly worth a look as an example of a bad New York City mid-60’s comedy. It’ll make you appreciate “Barefoot in the Park” that much more.

  • vincent-gilbert
    vincent gilbert

    The idea that free-spirited creativity is a social disorder that must be cured by a well-meaning but thoroughly incompetent psychiatric establishment is the theme here, and one quite familiar to anybody who has seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Sean Connery was a great choice to play a blocked, womanizing writer at the core of the drama and he centers the film with his amiable exuberance. Comparisons to Cuckoo’s Nest are inevitable, and this film lacks the other’s stifling power and resonance, but it shares a common vision of the psychiatric profession acting as a microcosm of authoritarian abuses in society at large. Still, this is a funny and charming, much lighter satire on the same subject, energetically directed by Irvin Kirschner, and enjoyable for Connery fans in any case.

  • melvin-thomas
    melvin thomas

    A largely underrated film. Released in 1966 (a year after Thunderball), Connery obviously wanted a departure from the static James Bond debonair and so took on the volatile character – Samson Shillitoe (erratic poet). The transition is not a complete alienation of the Bond character. He still gets the girls, though there is some poising and strutting. If you think of this movie as a precursor to Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” it is brilliant in sort of a “The Odd Couple” sitcom vein. Those looking to see “action hero” Sean Connery will probably be disappointed. “A Fine Madness” looks to be inspired by the antics of Charles Bukowski and the revival of the dialog between pyschotherpy, psychopharmacology and brain augmentation in the early-mid 60’s.

  • richard-kadlec
    richard kadlec

    While this may not be the worst film I have ever seen, it comes very close to being the worst comedy of all time. And it may be the most sexist film ever to be produced in the United States. Wife-beating is portrayed as humorous, cheating on your spouse is depicted as admirable, and yelling at, humiliating and degrading women is de rigueur throughout the movie. It’s a distillation of everything that was wrong with ’60s comedies.Sean Connery plays a violent, philandering, selfish, hateful bully who imagines himself to be a brilliant poet. When he suffers writer’s block, his screeching, yammering nag of a wife (Joanne Woodward, at the nadir of her career) sends him to a pretentious psychiatrist for treatment. After Connery ends up seducing the psychiatrist’s sexy wife (Jean Seaberg, in a squandered, vapid role), he is condemned (spoiler alert) to have a lobotomy. Yes, folks, this is a lobotomy comedy. It’s about as funny as it sounds. Along the way the audience is treated to “wacky” chase scenes, goofy camera angles, rinky-dink pianos and theremins in the soundtrack, and incessant shouted dialogue — while every female role is an insulting caricature: the prissy old matron, the nymphomaniac secretary, the harpy of a wife, the bored socialite, and so on. Connery’s poet is supposed to be a lovable anti-hero, but he comes across as loathsome and contemptible, and by the end you’ll want to give him a lobotomy yourself just to shut him up.What makes all this especially puzzling is that Connery was the top leading man in the world when “A Fine Madness” was made, riding high on the unparalleled success of his James Bond roles. Why in heaven’s name did he choose this embarrassingly amateurish script when he had the entire film industry at his feet? A terrible career blunder.Imagine taking the film “Charly” (aka “Flowers for Algernon,” about a retarded man who is given brain surgery), the worst episode of the TV sex farce “Love American Style,” and some outtakes from the Keystone Kops, and then editing them all together into a disastrous mash- up of conflicting styles and painfully unfunny humor — voila, you have “A Fine Madness.”The only redeeming features are the true-life location shots on the streets of mid-’60s Manhattan (which New-York-o-philes might enjoy), and a hilarious mini-documentary about Sean Connery made in 1966 to promote the movie, included on the DVD as a bonus. Aside from that, though, “A Fine Madness” is a depressing fiasco of a film, not even worth watching in the “so bad it’s unintentionally funny” category. And to top it all off, the ending makes absolutely no sense, and serves to render the entire film pointless, even when accepted at face value. What were they thinking?If, by writing this review, I can save just one person from having to endure sitting through “A Fine Madness,” then my life will have been worthwhile.

  • brianna-davis
    brianna davis

    I saw this movie when it came out. I was 17. I fancied myself a budding writer and was prepared to forgive everything poet Samson Shillitoe did because, well, he was a poet. And a genius. And, well, artists were entitled to be bastards who cheated on their wife and then beat them up when they complained. Shillitoe flouts all things middle class and bourgeois. He does not make art. He IS art. My hero.What an idiot I was.This is a dreadful movie. There were a lot of preposterously themed flicks in mid-Sixties American movies. This is one. I can see the pitch. “Let’s make a movie about a hot-tempered madman genius poet living a Bohemian lifestyle in NYC, and who beats his wife, who falls into the clutches of effete careerist psychiatrists who believe he is a perfect candidate for a lobotomy.” Sean Connery probably agreed to do this because at the time he would take any route necessary to prove he should not condemned to play only James Bond for the rest of his career.Why Joanne Woodward, who plays his punching bag of a wife, got on board is a mystery. Probably it was a chance to play opposite hot property Connery.If anyone truly needed a lobotomy, it is Samson Shillitoe.

  • melissa-medina
    melissa medina

    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.

  • claire-vallet
    claire vallet

    As a poet who is institutionalized, Sean Connery distances himself quite grandly from screen alter-ego James Bond. Connery is unexpectedly gregarious as the avant-garde writer, Joanne Woodard is suitably shrill as his spouse, the supporting cast (including Jean Seberg and the wonderful Zohra Lampert) is terrific, but this is an extremely bumpy, frantic piece on challenging the system. Director Irvin Kershner has always been a little erratic, and his shifts in tone take a while to get used to. The script, from Elliot Baker’s novel, is uneven, yet the film certainly looks good, with handsome photography and fine use of New York locations. Often gets confused with “They Might Be Giants”, another comedy which also co-starred Joanne Woodward and dealt with a certain madness. ** from ****

  • gabriela-cox
    gabriela cox

    This nicely done adaptation of Eliot Baker’s comedic novel (screenplay by the author himself) displays Sean Connery at his versatile finest. In the midst of his “Bond” persona (two years after “Goldfinger”) Connery gives a brilliant, anti-typical performance as Samson, a poet to whom art is everything, and the polite fictions and civilities of society nothing. As a man, he is rude, crude, sexist and insensitive to the feelings of everyone, including himself. He is a monster in the mode of Gully Jimson [ “A Horse’s Mouth” (1958)] or the real-life Dylan Thomas. A genius whose talent is little recognized, the poet reacts violently to the humdrum restraints of a culture that considers genius anti-social. That underlying tension, and his penchant for enjoying every attractive woman who happens to be in the vicinity, get him classified as a psychotic and put on the fast-track schedule for a pre-frontal lobotomy. Connery’s talent and charm save this very funny movie from the somewhat offensive obnoxiousness of its hero, and clinch its optimistic argument about the ultimate triumph of artistic greatness. Also, don’t miss the lovely performance by Coleen Dewhurst as a psychiatrist-seductress.

  • cynthia-ramos
    cynthia ramos

    A Fine Madness marks Sean Connery’s venture into screen comedy and while the man has had many funny moments in his film, comedy was not his strong suit. Ironically he’s cast opposite Joanne Woodward who as we know was married to someone who many critics also said was not at his best in comedy.Whatever else is wrong with A Fine Madness I have always loved Connery’s character name, Samson Shillitoe. One of the best screen names ever invented and so right for a would be poet.Samson for Connery is a peculiar combination of James Bond and Ralph Kramden with Joanne Woodward as his long suffering Alice. This lout is also a chick magnet in the James Bond tradition, though God knows why. He’s suffering writer’s block and can’t seem to finish this epic poem he’s trying to write. He also has a process server in John Fiedler chasing him down for back alimony to a former wife.Woodward puts him in the hands of psychiatrist Patrick O’Neal who claims he can cure creative people of their hangups so they can do their thing. Connery proves an interesting case however to O’Neal’s colleagues, Colleen Dewhurst, Jon Lormer, Werner Peters, and especially Clive Revill who’s developed a modified lobotomy that can really cure anti-social behavior. You’ll find few screen characters as anti-social as Samson Shillitoe. He’s also of interest to O’Neal’s wife Jean Seberg who just plain ain’t getting any lately.There are some funny moments in A Fine Madness, but ultimately I found it unsatisfying. When all’s said and done, though Ralph Kramden threatened many times to bang/zoom Alice to the moon, he never really did. Connery has battered Woodward and quite frankly she’s a battered spouse. Why she puts up with him is beyond me completely.And I’m surprised that this script didn’t offend Joanne Woodward’s feminist soul. She did the thing though to an unsatisfactory conclusion.

  • hedvika-ilic
    hedvika ilic

    If ever there was an award given out for “Most Outrageously, Sexist-Minded Film Ever (of the 1960s, that is)”, I think that A Fine Madness would, most definitely, be a sure-fire winner.And, with that said – If you are, indeed, a total feminist (or a feminist-hugger), I guarantee you that frequent key moments throughout this utterly absurd comedy will surely get your dander up like no other film from that era ever has. (I’m not kidding about this, folks!) Of course, in order to get any sort of real entertainment value out of A Fine Madness’s story one must keep it firmly in mind that here is a film that is a complete product of its time. This is a picture that proudly beats its chest and clearly states that “Hey! This is a man’s world!” (so if you’re a woman you better like it, or lump it).In my opinion – A Fine Madness was solely made to cash-in on Sean Connery’s rugged animal magnetism and his equally virile screen-charisma (following his huge success playing James Bond in 1965’s “Thunderball”).So, just be warned – If you’re prone to detest a lead character who just happens to be nothing but a boozing, womanizing, wife-beating, loudmouth with a hair-trigger temper, then, believe me, you’re probably not likely to find this comedy to be much of a laughing matter, in the long run.