Work Is a 4-Letter Word (Work Is a Four Letter Word) (1968) - Rotten Tomatoes

Work Is a 4-Letter Word (Work Is a Four Letter Word) (1968)





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Movie Info

Set in a futuristic world where man and machines compete, this comical fantasy centers upon a rather eccentric man who prefers raising his special giant, euphoria-producing mushrooms to working and spending time with his fiancee. He means well, for he believes that his funny fungus will help combat the increasing dehumanization of society. However, unable to withstand his bride's pressure, he finally takes a real job in a power plant. There he knocks out the power and then feeds his mushrooms to the authorities. While they walk around in a hallucinatory daze, he and his fiancee take a baby carriage filled with mushrooms and hightail it out of town. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi


David Warner
as Val Brose
Cilla Black
as Betty Dorrick
Elizabeth Spriggs
as Mrs. Murray
Zia Mohyeddin
as Dr. Narayana
Alan Howard
as The Reverend Mort
Jan Holden
as Mrs. Price
John Steiner
as Anthony
Roger Booth
as Pincher
Tony Church
as Arkwright
David Waller
as Mr. Price
Cyril Cross
as Commissionaire
Royston Tickner
as Train Guard
Joe Gladwin
as Pa Brose
Julie May
as Mrs. Dorrick
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Audience Reviews for Work Is a 4-Letter Word (Work Is a Four Letter Word)


Not long after his star-making turn in "Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment," David Warner played another obsessed eccentric in "Work Is a Four Letter Word." This muddled satire presents an exaggerated, regimented version of London where people live in uniform "domestic industries community estates" and all leave for work at the same moment. Meanwhile, the local media implants cheery ideas about "cooperation" and the like. Dropped into this clockwork world is Valentine Brose (Warner), a self-absorbed misfit who's only interested in cultivating psychedelic mushrooms. Is he a user? A dealer? Just an amateur botanist? This is never clear. His fiancee Betty (pop singer Cilla Black, in her only major acting role) wants him to settle for a factory job like everyone else, but Valentine only consents because the machinery steam will be the perfect climate for his beloved fungi. He takes a pointless post maintaining a restroom that no one uses but, mostly, he just exasperates his superiors (and the neighborhood reverend) by continually getting in the way. He also has to contend with a widowed personnel officer who has a crush on him. Some cute physical humor ensues with automated file drawers and a window-washing scaffold, eventually building to the inevitable scene where all the "straights" try his magic mushrooms and take a journey to the center of their minds. Actually adapted from a play (title: "Eh?"), "Work Is a Four Letter Word" has shaky direction and a rather neurotic musical score. The film is justifiably obscure, but will tickle those with a fondness for '60s UK comedies.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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