Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Hammersmith Is Out (1972)

Hammersmith Is Out (1972)

This contemporary view of the Faust legend was directed by Peter Ustinov, who also appears as a psychiatrist with a monstrous German accent. Richard Burton plays the devil who is locked in an asylum for the criminally insane, disguised as a lunatic called Hammersmith.

With the help of slovenly, dimwitted, nose-picking redneck orderly Billy Breedlove (Beau Bridges) and illiterate platinum blonde diner waitress Jimmie Jean Jackson (Elizabeth Taylor) he escapes, spreads crime and pestilence, corrupts the world, starts wars, and litters the film with discarded corpses along the way.

Onetime gangster star George Raft has a short part as the owner of a topless nightclub which Hammersmith helps Breedlove acquire, and Leon Ames – looking quite aged – plays a pompous American general who owes more to Colonel Blimp than to the Pentagon.

Burton sleepwalks through the film as though in an advanced state of hypnosis, the writing is inept and the humour quickly palls. With a cast of this calibre, you would expect much much more.

Jimmie Jean Jackson
Elizabeth Taylor
Richard Burton
Peter Ustinov
Billy Breedlove
Beau Bridges
General Sam Pembroke
Leon Ames
Dr Krodt
Leon Askin
Guido Scartucci
George Raft
Henry Joe
John Schuck
Marjorie Eaton
Lisa Jak
Miss Quim
Linda Gaye Scott
Fat Man
Mel Berger
Anthony Holland
Pete Rutter
Brook Williams
Carl Don

Peter Ustinov