How to Get Ahead in Advertising

Overview

From the creative gang responsible for the cult comedy Withnail and I, writer/director Bruce Robinson and actor Richard E. Grant team up again to skewer consumer culture and the mighty Madison Avenue advertising machine. How to Get Ahead in Advertising's caustic laughs are brought to you by The Criterion Collection, and as with their simultaneous release of Withnail, the disc is indeed splendid. Presented in its proper theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the digital transfer was supervised by cinematographer Peter...
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Overview

From the creative gang responsible for the cult comedy Withnail and I, writer/director Bruce Robinson and actor Richard E. Grant team up again to skewer consumer culture and the mighty Madison Avenue advertising machine. How to Get Ahead in Advertising's caustic laughs are brought to you by The Criterion Collection, and as with their simultaneous release of Withnail, the disc is indeed splendid. Presented in its proper theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the digital transfer was supervised by cinematographer Peter Hannan, making this release the definitive and preferable choice over previous home video appearances. Colors are perfectly balanced and the overall transfer is sharp and clean. Like a lot of movies made in the 1980s, previous video editions of this film came off a tad soft and almost hazy-looking at times. But this remastered transfer, without a doubt, rectifies the problem and really makes the film look great. As far as extras go, there is only a theatrical trailer included. As with the Withnail disc, there is sadly no commentary track from Robinson or Grant, which would have made this an even better treat. Nevertheless, this disc is required viewing for all fans of acidic satires and talking boil films.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
This black-hearted satire from actor-turned-director Bruce Robinson offers an incisive look at the cynicism and ugliness of unfettered capitalism. But it ain't Kafka, which is why it loses something once it gets past its witty setup and into its metamorphic main story line. Richard E. Grant is never less than riveting as the two sides of his personality -- the human being and the ad man -- split in two and one takes up residence in the talking boil on his neck. He's at his best, however, not when he's gibbering to himself, but when he's coldly explaining the mechanisms by which advertisers and their employers control the world. "'We know it's naughty, but you do deserve it,'" his character spits at a group of hapless junior account execs. "'Go on, darling, swallow a bun!" And she does. And the instant she does, the guilt cuts in. So here we are again with our diet." Such diatribes may ultimately grow wearisome, especially when espoused endlessly by a sentient pimple, but they turn the film's first act into a razor sharp satire about all that's ugly in modern consumer culture. As the film progresses, however, writer/director Robinson treats his talking-boil conceit literally rather than figuratively, and the laughs quickly become shrill. Rachel Ward is likable as the attractive wife who'd rather enjoy her privileged life than face up to the fiendish career that enables it, while Jacqueline Tong provides an amusing target for the Grant character's vitriol.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/10/2001
  • UPC: 715515012324
  • Original Release: 1989
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Dolby 5.1 / Stereo
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, stereo
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:34:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard E. Grant Dennis Bagley
Rachel Ward Julia Bagley
Richard Wilson Bristol
Jacqueline Tong Penny Wheelstock
John Shrapnel Psychiatrist
Susan Wooldridge Monica
Mick Ford Richard
Jacqueline Pearce Maude
Lucy Boulting
Tanveer Ghani Hospital Doctor
Christopher Simon Waiter
Kerryann White Girl in Elevator
Hugh Armstrong Harry Wax
Gino Melvazzi Waiter
Victor Lucas Tweedy Man
Dawn Keeler Tweedy Woman
Vivienne McKone Receptionist
Donald Hoath Businessman
John Levitt Businessman
Gordon Gostelow Priest
Pip Torrens Jonathan
Tony Slattery Basil
Rachel Fielding Jennifer
Pauline Melville Mrs. Wallace
Francesca Longrigg Nurse
Joanna Mays Phillis Blokey
Sean Bean Larry Frisk
Roddy Maude-Roxby Dr. Gatty
Technical Credits
Bruce Robinson Director, Screenwriter
Ray Cooper Co-producer
David Dundas Score Composer
Peter Frampton Makeup
Andrea Galer Costumes/Costume Designer
David Goruti Choreography
Robyn Hamilton-Doney Set Decoration/Design
Peter Hannan Cinematographer
Henry Harris Art Director
George Harrison Executive Producer, Producer
Peter Kohn Asst. Director
Denis O'Brien Executive Producer, Producer
Michael Pickwoad Production Designer
Bob Smith Cinematographer
Alan Strachan Editor
Kathy Sykes Production Manager
Daivd Toguri Choreography
Rick Wentworth Score Composer
David Wimbury Co-producer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapters
1. "Whatever It Is, Sell It" [4:04]
2. Boil Busters [3:08]
3. Pimples, Acne, & Boils [5:24]
4. Distortion of Truth by Association [3:07]
5. Pompous Herbivore [3:56]
6. Natural Selection [2:39]
7. "I'm Taking Forever Off" [6:16]
8. "It's Grown a Head!" [5:14]
9. Professional Opinion [3:13]
10. The Coast of Panic [4:52]
11. Greed Is Out of Control [4:22]
12. "Tell Me About Advertising" [6:57]
13. "Your Very Own Big Brother" [5:58]
14. Boils Are Beautiful [4:34]
15. Incarnation of Evil With a Briefcase [5:59]
16. "Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick" [4:57]
17. When the Shagging Begins [3:47]
18. "Can You Hear Me, Boil?" [9:02]
19. Bigger, Brighter, and Better! [3:46]
20. End Credits [2:39]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play the Movie
   Theatrical Trailer
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