“The old values are crumbling.”
An eccentric billionaire named Sir Guy Grand (Peter Sellers) adopts a homeless young man as his son (Ringo Starr), and then proceeds to spend large amounts of money bribing people into doing his whims — ultimately proving that money really can buy just about anything.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Black Comedy
- Christopher Lee Films
- Father and Child
- Laurence Harvey Films
- Peter Sellers Films
- Raquel Welch Films
- Richard Attenborough Films
- Ringo Starr Films
- Roman Polanski Films
- Yul Brynner Films
This loose adaptation of Terry Southern’s 1959 comic novel is unambiguous in its relentless skewering of capitalism and corruption — though it’s challenging to know exactly what to make of this perspective, especially since Sellers’ character isn’t sympathetic and we wish he would spend his money in more productive and charitable ways. DVD Savant is clearly not a fan of this flick, writing that “despite the fact that some find this show absolutely hilarious, it all just sits there, daring us to pick about for whatever scraps of inspiration can be found in the wreckage.” He adds that “There isn’t much shock value here, only a mild crudity that only makes the film seem less imaginative.” With that said, some bits stand out as amusing — including the inspired auction scene, and random cameos during final sequences on board the “Magic Christian” cruise ship. Ultimately, however, this one really isn’t for all tastes, and will be of most interest to those who appreciate all manner of zany cinema coming out of the late 1960s.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Some creatively surreal imagery and scenes
- Amusing cameos by a host of big names
No. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.