34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2007
A sorely overlooked film, the link between the Ealing comedies (Man In The White Suit and The Lady Killers especially) and Lindsay Anderson's monumental O Lucky Man! This is a staggeringly prescient film on the machinations of spin politics. Peter Cook plays the title role absolutely straight, like Peter Sellers did in Heavens Above, leaving it to comic stalwarts like Arthur Lowe, Dennis Price, John Cleese, Harold Pinter and the like to amuse. For an incredible insight into The Rise And Rise Of Michael Rimmer, there's a fascinating chapter about it in the book How Very Interesting: Peter Cook's Universe And All That Surrounds It. Happily, this is the full length cut of the film and not the trimmed version that was very occasionally shown on TV at around 3 in the morning. Rimmer is the satirical forefather of The Thick Of It.
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2007
This was the film that was supposed to make PC a proper bona-fide film star. All the elements were in place - a script from John Cleese and Graham Chapman, a stellar cast of British acting talent, major studio support from Warners, and even David Frost as Exec Producer.
Cook himself looks great - really rather handsome, and although his acting style was on the arch side, he got away with with because the character he was playing was such a smoke-and-mirrors PR fraud (Alastair Campbell must've seen it...).
However, it all went wrong. It was such an audacious, accurate satire of the machinations behind a political party scheming its way to power, that it was deemed politically too sensitive to release in the midst of the 1970 general election. It eventually got a modest release, but the moment had passed, and so had Cook's stab at movie fame. Dudley did slightly better a few years later...
That said, it's great. Chillingly predicting the annexing of party politics by spin, image and grasping PR chancers, "Rimmer" is a joy, and even an education.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2014
This is a massively underrated (and sadly, largely forgotten) satire which, viewed today, seems quite astonishingly ahead of its time in its portrayal of the cynical use of media and mass-marketing techniques to sell politicians – much in the way that one might sell a new brand of dog food – to the electorate. The parallels with the marketing of New Labour in the 1990s are really rather disturbing and impressively prescient, despite the film being originally aimed squarely at the 1970 election campaign. Peter Cook is icily and diabolically detached (or wooden, depending on your view of his acting), supported by a plethora of satirical and comedic talent, and there’s a very welcome appearance from Valerie Leon as an ice-maiden secretary (I’m tempted to add that she’s also quite possibly the most beautiful secretary ever seen in the known universe, but I’d be getting off the point. Ahem). Occasionally very funny and persistently deeply cynical, this is an absolute gem if you’re a fan of cutting satire.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
(I have already posted a review of the boxed set which included this film)
I remember seeing a trailer for this film on the Granada TV show “Cinema”, hosted at the time by Michael Parkinson at the start of his television career. I liked the look of it, but never got round to seeing it and the film rather disappeared from the radar until I finally viewed more than 40 years later.
While it’s not quite an undiscovered masterpiece, it’s nevertheless very good, boasting some sharp political satire and some choice performances by a cast of British TV and film favourites.
It is in many ways an extremely prescient film, predicting a government run almost entirely on spin well before this became the norm. The satire is, as I say, on the sharp side, but there are some rather “obvious” moments too (Denholm Elliot’s character is called Peter Niss, for heaven’s sake) and several that will make you laugh at loud.
The script was penned by the film’s star, Peter Cook, its director, Kevin Billington, and by John Cleese and Graham Chapman, who both contribute comic cameos.
Cook’s performance is, depending on your point of view, either cleverly detached or wooden, but it is undoubtedly appropriate for a central character who (as was famously said of David Frost…the film’s producer, incidentally) “rises without trace”. He is surrounded by a choice collection of British character actors and comedians. Pride of place must go to the great Arthur Lowe and to Ronald Fraser as the buffoonish Prime Minister, but nods must also go to Cleese, Richard Pearson, Roland Culver, Ronnie Corbett, James Cossins, Michael Bates, Denis Price and George A. Cooper (as a Labour leader clearly based on Harold Wilson). There is also a welcome appearance by the spectacular Valerie Leon, while Harold Pinter, no less, pops up as a TV interviewer.
Although certain aspects of this film may seem a little dated, it is, as I say, remarkably prescient and, I would suggest, well worth searching out. Kevin Billington’s commentary is worth catching too.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2009
This is a brilliant, sharp, witty British satirical film that deserves to be far more famous than it is. It takes a well educated stab at the corrupt political system and pokes fun at the stereotypical upper class twit MP who is dictated to, unwittingly, by a master of spin; played by Peter Cook. People often criticize Peter's acting abilities but I think his style fitted his role as Michael Rimmer in this film perfectly. He is utterly believable. I think John Cleese's talents are slightly wasted though, as he is such a great comic actor and did not feature in the film as much as I expected. In the current political climate this film, despite its age, is more relevant than ever before.
For fans of Peter Cook, The Thick Of It and Yes Minister.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2014
I don't normally watch British films on t.v simply because I have no film channel on t.v(hardly watching t.v 3 times a week..)and usually buying them. but, on a rare occasion i saw The Rise And Rise of Michael Rimmer on MGM at friend's house. Hilarious! It's a prefessional acting yet they talk about the same thing they're referring to nowadays. The politicians are the same breed now as in the 60's. But after I investigate a little on Peter Cook I saw he made other great films. Right now as I watch the film I can't get enough of the British humour im so fond of. Direct insults and no drawbacks on other characters which brings a lot of 'pepper' into a real humour. A must see film!
A very smart, very under known, and very dark political satire, written by star Peter Cook, Monty Python's-to-be John Cleese and Graham Chapman, and director Kevin Billington.
Given the talents involved, the fact that it is often absurd, and occasionally very funny is not surprising. But it's often more subtle and low key than its writers and cast – including greats like Arthur Lowe, Denholm Elliot, Cleese and Chapman - made me expect. It's also a little uneven. Not every piece is as funny or stinging as it wants to be.
But this witty story of a slick, attractive and manipulative pollster slowly taking control of the Tory party, and raising his own political fortunes ever higher has a depressing amount of relevance for the state of politics today. Amazingly prescient, many of what were presented as absurd notions in 1970 became part of what we've come to expect in the years that followed. While not perfect, it's very much worth a look if you're intrigued by political humor or the creative folks involved.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2013
Rimmer, a young go getter in the world of marketing finds he is a dab hand at getting what he wants from people by manipulating them and lying to all and sundry with his clever spin, lack of ethics and smoke and mirror tactics. Inevitably this skill leading him into the world of politics, where before long, he is vying for power right at the very top..
I liked this, there's a lot of talent on display and there's something very smug and self assuring about it. First and foremost its a political satire but there's also a few very funny moments of physical comedy and the writing is quite astute at times. Which if nothing else, proves that even as far back as 1970 we were being lied to and cheated by politicians playing the game, who seem to be the same bunch lying to us, with the same lies, that there has always been, but with of course, different faces...Who would ever of thought that!
With both the story and characters here sharing a scary resemblance with their modern day counterparts.
As far as the co~writing by Chapman and Cleese goes, you do see some glimpses of Python here but its not as anarchic nor as silly as their usual work, nor for that matter as the humour found in Whoops Apocalypse which also featured Cook.
Personally I preferred O Lucky Man, but this is still recommended.
Anyhoo, I'm off now to watch 'Today In Parliament' and then drown my sorrows with Fors Ale!
on 24 October 2014
A brilliant comedy about a man who comes from no where and becomes the President of the United Kingdom! Peter Cook stars in the role of Michael Rimmer and the film is populated by a host of British character actors and comedians. The film was originally released in th1960s. A hilarious look at market surveys and the in fighting in politics and Michael's rise to power. Very, very good and a good laugh. See how many stars you can spot.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2011
I saw this film in the seventies when it was first released and had been looking for it for some time. It was a great film at the time.
This film has a lot of the old comedians from the seventies such as Peter Cook, John Cleese, Ronnie Corbett, Dudley Moore, Dennis Price, Arthur Lowe,in a film that is has aged fairly well though is not quite as hilarious as it was at the time. Many of the films and TV shows that came from the Oxford/Cambridge comedians of the time have not fared very well. The film still has relevance today particularly in respect to the part played by polls in determining the policies of government and the way in which such polls can be manipulated. It was definitely worth a watch.