For my next film in Dealing with the Devil month, I thought that I'd go with The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer from 1970. There's not a lot of great fashions to look at and only a couple of interesting sets, however, you've probably never heard of it. Despite having a script by Peter Cook, Graham Chapman and John Cleese, the film was not a success when it was released in the UK and it didn't even get a North American theatrical release. It's even hard to come by now, since it is only available on DVD in Region 2 and as a torrent if you dig enough. However, it is an absolutely brilliant satire on politics, PR, spin and the influence of opinion polls. So, if you find it, you have to watch it.
Peter Cook plays the mysterious, ruthless and diabolical Michael Rimmer. One day, he wanders into a small, ailing advertising agency wearing a suit and clutching a clip board. Everyone assumes that he is doing a time and motion study for the slightly mad agency owner. After all, how can you doubt anyone with a figure of authority and a clip board?
He finds out that the office decor is out of date by fifty years and that the agency is losing what money and clients that they have left hand over fist.
In no time at all, Rimmer takes over the running of the agency, which he turns into an opinion poll agency and calls in the decorators.
In what feels like a week, Rimmer has moved into a larger office building and has transformed the agency into the UK's leading polling organization, with computers and everything. Plus some modern early Seventies interior design to go with it.
By doing a comprehensive survey into the UK's sex habits, he becomes a media darling and the leading television expert on opinion polls.
He is always interviewed by this man, who is played by Nobel laureate Harold Pinter.
Denholm Elliott plays Peter, who becomes Rimmer's right-hand man and his assistant on his rapid rise to reach whatever Rimmer's goal is.
Rimmer has decided to go into politics (where else can you achieve real power?) and he and Peter offer their services as PR men to the leader of the opposition and coach him on how to win them over at the next Conservative conference.
They also hire some students to protest at the conference, in order to make him look compassionate and witty on television.
Naturally, there is an upcoming election and they have to drum up support in order for the Tories to win.
Rimmer is also called in by the current Prime Minister, who wants some PR advice. Rimmer gets him to appear on television several times a day so that the people will grow sick of the site of him.
In order to become more famous, Rimmer marries the second most popular woman in the UK and they honeymoon in the riding that the Tories have got him to run in.
Check out their apartment. Neutrals were so very popular in the Seventies, weren't they.
Naturally, Rimmer wins his seat with an overwhelming majority. He then quickly works his way up through the cabinet through a careful combination of charisma, deception, murder and invading Switzerland in order to become Prime Minister, only he has his sights set on a more powerful job.
Here's a clip of showing part of his evil plan to take over the UK, by offering the people a chance to live in a true democracy. It's brilliant, but so very evil and wrong. Or is it?
And check out the nifty shots of the legions of postmen.