The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Media Satire, Political Satire  |   Release Date - Nov 12, 1970 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Mike Cummings

Although The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer fell and fell at the box office after it was released in 1969, it earned cult status among moviegoers who appreciate wildly imaginative films. Through preposterous hyperbole, the kind that crowns a mouse king of an elephant herd, it satirizes the use of opinion polls to plumb the electorate and shape a country's future. In doing so, the film correctly prophesies the 21st century's excessive use of such polls, the kind that ordained Al Gore as victor in Florida in the 2000 U.S. presidential election. Pundits and politicians regularly refer to the film to call attention to the possibility that excessive polling could undermine representative democracy. Droll Peter Cook, a favorite in Britain, stars as the devilishly clever Michael Rimmer, a man who uses and manipulates opinion polls to rise from nobody to prime minister of England. Of course, history dictates that everyone who rises must also fall, like Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Napoleon, and George III. But not Rimmer. He keeps on rising and rising. The production also brings together for the first time the comedic genius of future Monty Python regulars John Cleese and Graham Chapman, who wrote the original script and acted in the film. Cook later rewrote the script. The film includes a cast of characters with Dickensian names such as Snaggot, Spot, Blocket, Spimm, Poot, and Fromage (the French word for cheese).