An unhappy young couple visit the infamous Kellogg spa in Battle Creek, Michigan while a young hustler tries get into the breakfast-cereal business and compete against John Kellogg’s corn flakes.
Writer/director Alan Parker’s adaptation of T. Coraghessan Boyle’s 1993 novel of the same name told about the early 20th Century Reform movement for health self-improvement. The film was filled with scatalogical references and lots of nudity. Its tagline was:
“What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger!”
The outrageous, satirical sex comedy chronicled the fanatical treatments at buck-toothed inventor/developer/health guru Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s (Anthony Hopkins) fictional Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan. There, affluent guests were rejuvenated by being subjected to daily colon cleansings, purgings, and yogurt enemas, the eating of roughage (and denial of meat), electric shock baths, flagellation and other shock therapies and battery-powered treatments applied to the genitals, womb manipulation massages, and sex abstinence. Kellogg argued: “Masturbation is the silent killer of the night! The vilest sin of self-pollution! The sin of Onan!”
It featured many big-name stars, including the couple:
William Lightbody (Matthew Broderick)
Eleanor Lightbody (Bridget Fonda), William’s wife
Eleanor confided with her orgasm-obsessed, ample-bodied friend Virginia Cranehill (Camryn Manheim) – another patient. She was worried about her husband’s possible addiction to opium, his alcoholism, and also she was concerned about his sex drive: “He always wanted (sex). It was (don’t tell me – grunt, grunt, thank you very much, good night, spit, snore)….It wasn’t that I didn’t want him… (Marriage is legalized prostitution, my dear)… I wanted to be more than a hole in the mattress that answers to a name.” Eleanor wanted to have sex with her husband but admitted: “I want so much to love him. I’ve just forgotten how.” She eagerly explored the ‘Der Handebunge technique’ – a vaginal stimulation practiced by one of the lecherous womb doctors, Dr Spitzvogel (Norbert Weisser), administering a therapeutic massage of the womb.
She also asked Virginia when they were in a massage session: “Tell me Virginia, honestly. Do you think that sex is harmful?” Virginia sighed: “Another ridiculous idea dreamed up by men. The only thing harmful about sex, my dear, is when women don’t get enough of it when they want it, or don’t get to enjoy it when they do.” She introduced Eleanor to a love of bicycle riding for the “pleasures” it gave on long rides – what she termed a ‘bicycle smile.’
Due to William’s forced separation from his wife Eleanor (who sponged herself while engaged in frequent milk baths), he found himself libidinously attracted to two other females:
Irene Graves (Traci Lind), his sexy and pretty nurse who administered his enemas (and who he imagined undressed, when they shared an elevator together)
Ida Muntz (Lara Flynn Boyle), sickly, emaciated, and consumptive, and across the hallway, who was suffering from a mysterious ‘green sickness.’ William had sex with her under an elaborate electric blanket, to the rhythmic breathing of exercises being conducted nearby: “In, out, in, out.”
Later, William also came upon Ida sitting topless under a veil in her room. She removed the veil to reveal her sickly green face, and he turned away as she asked: “It’s my face, isn’t it?…You’re staring at my face…What color is it?” To be polite, he answered her twice: “Veridian…creme de menthe.”
She admitted it was green, although he said it was more “pale” than green. She then claimed that she was cold, denied his suggestion of a blanket, and asked Will: “Will you please lay on top of me?” When he came closer, she requested: “Would you please close the flap?” – he obliged by covering her head with the veil. Then she whispered an order: “Now do it.”
Director: Alan Parker
Tags: Anthony Hopkins, Bridget Fonda, Camryn Manheim, Colm Meaney, Dana Carvey, Free movies 1994, John Cusack, John Neville, Lara Flynn Boyle, Matthew Broderick, The Road to Wellville, The Road to Wellville Online, Traci Lind