Work is a Four Letter Word (1968)

Article 2628 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-15-2008
Posting Date: 10-23-2008
Directed by Peter Hall
Featuring David Warner, Cilla Black, Zia Mohyeddin
Country: UK

In the near future, technology has advanced to the point that businesses have to create artificial jobs for people just to keep them employed. This benefits an otherwise unemployable young man whose passion is raising mushrooms, and who hopes to get a job at a utility plant so the boilers can create a hot, moist environment to grow his crop.

I’m going to start right off by saying that this late-sixties counter-culture comedy is a self-indulgent piece of twaddle. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it; its eccentric sense of humor fits in well with my own, and I like that it never takes itself too seriously nor gets pretentious. I respond well to its kooky charms, and I always enjoy watching David Warner (who I remember most strongly as having played The Evil One in Terry Gilliam’s TIME BANDITS) in anything. Still, there is a part of me that wished the movie had dwelt on its science fiction aspects more, but, I suppose if it did, it wouldn’t be the movie it is. For me, the movie only really stumbles towards the end, when all of the major characters start eating the mushrooms and freaking out; it’s here that the movie becomes more dumb than fun. It’s based on a play by Henry Livings with the unpromising title of “Eh?”.


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