British quad poster
|Directed by||Alvin Rakoff|
|Produced by||Ben Arbeid|
|Written by||Ernest Gébler|
|Based on||novel Shall I Eat You Now? by Ernest Gebler|
|Music by||Ron Grainer|
|Edited by||Barrie Vince|
Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC)
Longstone Film Productions
|Distributed by||Anglo-EMI (UK)
American Continental (US)
Hoffman is a 1970 British film directed by Alvin Rakoff and starring Peter Sellers, Sinéad Cusack, Ruth Dunning and Jeremy Bulloch. It is the tale of an older man (Peter Sellers) who blackmails an attractive young woman (Sinéad Cusack) into spending a week with him in his flat in London. His hope is that she will forget her crooked fiancé and fall in love with him instead.
It is notable for the haunting music by Ron Grainer, the theatrical art of scene setting, fine colour cinematography, and as one of Sellers' few 'straight' performances.
Telling her fiancé Tom she has to spend a week with her sick grandmother, Janet instead goes to the flat of Hoffman, a recently divorced executive in the firm where she works who she hardly knows. Her visit is not voluntary, since Hoffman claims to have evidence that could send Tom to jail and has blackmailed her into spending the week with him. While full of desire for the young woman, he is also still bitter about women and, without pressuring her physically, bullies her psychologically. Young and inexperienced, she eventually begins to fight back and even starts some sexual provocation and then insults Hoffman when he does not respond. They are then interrupted when Tom comes looking for his missing fiancée, having been prompted by an 'anonymous' phone call actually made by Hoffman, and Janet leaves with Tom. Discussing the situation, Tom and his mother ask Janet to go back to Hoffman and continue being nice to him in order to keep Tom out of jail. Dismayed that both of them are more concerned for themselves than for her, she goes back to Hoffman and negotiates the terms to agree to his invitation to be his permanent companion.
Reportedly, Sellers despised Hoffman because the lead character too closely reflected his own personality. According to Bryan Forbes, who was head of the studio that financed the film, Sellers went through a depressive phase after filming was completed and he asked to buy back the negative and remake the movie. He also gave an interview where he said the film was a disaster.
- Mr [Benjamin] Hoffman - Peter Sellers
- Janet Smith - Sinéad Cusack
- Tom Mitchell - Jeremy Bulloch
- Mrs Mitchell - Ruth Dunning
- Foreman - David Lodge
The film was not a success at the box office.
- "Hoffman (1969)". BFI.
- "Bryan Forbes". Telegraph.co.uk. 9 May 2013.
- "Peter Sellers 90th anniversary: 10 essential films". British Film Institute.
- Bryan Forbes, A Divided Life, Mandarin Paperbacks 1993 p106
- City comment: Soon the darkness, The Guardian (1959-2003) [London (UK)] 8 March 1971: 12.
|This article related to a British film of the 1970s is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|