“Cold Turkey” is a movie ahead of its time. Released in 1971, the film work on a brilliant premise. Bob Newhart is an ad man for the Valiant Tobacco Company. His company wants to stave off the bad publicity that was starting to hit Big Tobacco. Their idea was to give a town $25 million dollars for giving up smoking for 30 days. Dick Van Dyke plays a small town preacher who takes up Valiant on the offer. Valiant agrees to go along with the idea, since it was 1971 and cigarettes were the Starbucks of its era.

The film rocks a cast of heavy hitters from TV and stage. Bob Newhart, Van Dyke, Tom Poston, Barnard Hughes, M. Emmet Walsh and Vincent Gardenia rocked major roles in this film that was just a little too strong of a satire. Hell, Bob and Ray show up as parodies of David Brinkley and Walter Cronkite. That last sentence made everyone born after 2000 go WHO and I love that. But, such is the case with a film very much of its time.

No one in the town breaks down without cigarettes in a certain way. Dick van Dyke wants to keep everyone straight, but doctors are taking over hospital O.R.s and others are getting the shakes. Kids run around town making fun of the event, while Bob Newhart is slowly breaking down. The PR stunt wasn’t supposed to work and now they’re going to have to cut a 25 million dollar check. It’s super fascinating to see Newhart play slimy evil, but he’s in complete command here. These are the kinds of releases that I love seeing Olive Films releasing.

After all, what’s the point of deep diving into studio libraries if you can’t save the unseen?


  • Nothing


  • 1.85:1 1080p transfer


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