Friday, June 30, 2017


Directed By: Karel Reisz 
Written By: David Mercer 
Cinematography By: Larry Pizer 
Editor: Tom Priestley & Victor Procter 

Cast: David Warner, Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Stephens, Irene Handl, Peter Collingwood 

After his wife leaves him for his former best friend, a failed London artist begins his descent into madness into trying to win her back.

In David Mercer's original TV play (televised some four years earlier by the BBC), Morgan is a much older man, his fragile mental state mainly the result of a lifetime of heavy drinking, and a writer rather than an artist. He is also a rather more violent character than the Morgan played by David Warner in this film. Some have said that these changes to the character were what made the film a big box-office hit. It was also said by some that the original Morgan (played on TV by Ian Hendry) bore a striking resemblance to David Mercer himself.

This is an oddity that feels more like a visual theater piece more than a film. As it is full of ideas and settles on locations quite a bit. Though an orthodox romance of sorts that goes through the aspects and levels of a failing romance and marriage.

The film is more centered around the performance of the main character. That the title alludes to. As he seems to constantly be in control of the narrative. Other characters get their chance to make their marks but it seems like most of their roles are reacting to the main character. Played by David Warner, who one has never seen so loose or having so much fun too bad it's not as infectious as this type of role can be usually in comedies.

This film is a love story of sorts. As Vanessa Redgrave who is stunningly sexy and vibrant plays the main characters Morgan's suffering wife. Who goes a little mad herself, but can see why she loves him. Though knows her is bad for her.

The movie like the main character has a rather misogynistic look at love. Whether or not that is intentional as Morgan see's himself as more primal and more at home in the animal World. Especially seeing himself more akin with the monkey kingdom.

The film feels a bit new wave though more a comes with splashes of seriousness and surreal elements. It becomes more funny and hilarious whenever the action is sped up.

It's not exactly a character study of someone who is quite the character. We stay with the character but never quite get what happened to make him seem so mad and what really makes him tick. More just his reactions to certain Situations and people. The film still comes off as dull. Though it tries to pull us into his world and psychosis. Where as it only succeeds in that aspect in the last part of the film.

One wishes there were more to the film. It’s an enjoyable premise. The execution is inventive at times, but doesn't win over the audience completely over. Though we are able to tell there is something special about it.

The film feels long as you wonder where it is going exactly. Though at times directs you where it wants to go. As it is part of the british new wave. It tries to seem scattered but slowly makes it’s points along the way. Even if it tries to do so, so that we experience it through the main characters fractured psyche.

It tries to tie in mental imbalance into communism and questionable beliefs in politics. Showing it not to be only a recent problem. Half the time in this movie the so called sane people seem as crazy as the main character. They just seem to have better control over it.

The film is inventive definitely more of an oddity. It is worth watching as a study in style and presentation. Though it feels more theatrical with some cinematic flourishes.


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