Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hoffman (1970)

Director: Alvin Rakoff

Writer: ernest Gebler

Composer: Ron Grainer

Starring: Peter Sellers, Sinead Cusack, Ruth Duning, Jeremy Bulloch, David Lodge, Kay Hall, Elizabeth Bayley, Cindy Burrows, Karen Murtagh, Ron Taylor, John Tatum

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A sly tale of blackmail about a beauty and her boss!

Plot: 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.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Here's an odd film.  It starts out weird and creepy, then it gets rather sad and it ends up so wrong and fucked up.   IMDb lists this as a comedy and the trailer (which I didn't see until after the film) has it going either way but you figure Sellers is in it so it's probably a comedy.  It's not.  It's an abduction drama at its core.  Hoffman forces this girl (who works for him, btw) to spend four days with her in an effort to woo her.  He's mental.  We find out that he was once married.  That gives Janet (Cusack) a reason to think that is human and is capable of love but it's a mystery to her and us.  Hoffman has issues and he's socially awkward, it seems, when it comes to girls.  He's been in love with her since he met her 18 months earlier and he's taking this opportunity to try to win her over before she marries another man (played by future Boba Fett, Jeremy Bulloch).  He doesn't even kiss her until the final moment in the picture.  Sellers and Cusack are in every single scene and the other actors have very little screen time.  I think this might be a picture that I will like the more I think about it but it's certainly an odd bird and I encourage anyone who watches it for the first time to go into it as a creepy drama.  It has light moments but it's a far more serious film than what I imagined.  The acting all around is solid.  Sellers, especially early on at his most creepy, is brilliant.  It really is some of the best work I've seen him do, dramatically.  The Anchor Bay DVD has a very nice anamorphic widescreen print with the sole extra in an anamorphic widescreen trailer for the film.  I'm liking it more already.

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