Michel Thomas created a novel method of language instruction, in which students are instructed to relax and to make no effort to remember any of what they learn. The result is supposed to be effective learning of the language in hours or days rather than years.
In Nigel Levy's documentary for BBC2, Thomas teaches a group of London secondary school students to speak conversational French in five days.
This past week, I used Michel Thomas' recordings to learn Italian. After two hours, I certainly seemeed to learn something. I seem to have picked up a fine bit of Italian, and unexpectedly also found I was able to read in French with greater ease.