Synopsis by Mark Deming
Singer, songwriter, and actor Anthony Newley produced, directed, co-wrote, scored, and starred in this bizarre autobiographical musical in which a famous entertainer takes a look back at the circumstances of his life. Legendary singing star Heironymus Merkin (Newley) stands by the sea, surrounded by a small mountain of souvenirs of his life and times, with his mother (Patricia Hayes) and children (Tara Newley and Alexander Newley, Newley's real life daughter and son) by his side. As Merkin shows his captive audience reel after reel of footage from the story of his life, the film crew making the movie grows impatient, wishing Merkin was more cooperative and waiting for an ending to the script. We learn that Merkin was raised without a father, and his Uncle Limelight (Bruce Forsyth) encouraged him to become an entertainer at a young age. As Merkin enjoys a hit with the tune "Piccadilly Lilly" that catapults him to fame, he becomes partners with Goodtime Eddie Filth (Milton Berle), a cheerful demon who introduces Merkin to the pleasures of women. As Merkin stumbles into a short-lived marriage with Filigree Fondle (Judy Cornwell) and enjoys a more successful relationship with Polyester Poontang (Joan Collins, Newley's spouse at the time), he finds it difficult to resist the temptation to bed nearly every attractive woman who crosses his path, and develops a lifelong obsession with the young, innocent, yet nubile Mercy Humppe (Connie Kreski). Meanwhile, Merkin is frequently visited by The Presence (George Jessel), who seems to hold the power of life and death as he cracks one old joke after another. Also starring Stubby Kaye, Victor Spinetti, and Margaret Nolan, Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe And Find True Happiness? was rated X for its original release in 1969, though a slightly edited R-rated version was soon shipped to theaters, though it didn't prevent the film from becoming a critical and financial flop.
beach, lecher, memorabilia, black-mass, celebrity, comedian, hedonism, life, Satan, sex, temptation, vaudeville