A "Romeo and Juliet"-inspired Cold War satire starring, written and directed by Peter Ustinov. A tiny but otherwise inconsequential and powerless European country called Concordia holds the...
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A "Romeo and Juliet"-inspired Cold War satire starring, written and directed by Peter Ustinov. A tiny but otherwise inconsequential and powerless European country called Concordia holds the deciding vote in a crucial United Nations resolution. As the U.S. and Soviet Union try to manipulate Condordia so that its vote aligns with their interests, Concordia's wily leader (Ustinov) turns the tables on the superpowers, pitting one against the other by playing matchmaker between the son of the Soviet ambassador and the daughter of his US counterpart. Written by
[trying to persuade the General to cast his vote on the United Nations amendment from which he has abstained]
Why, a child could understand it!
Alas, I'm no longer a child.
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I first saw this movie in a theater when I was 7. Since then I have watched all or part of the movie more than 20 times. Peter Ustinov is marvelous in this very amusing little film about life and love in a micro-nation in central Europe. Along with the tiny nation of Grand Fenwick (see The Mouse That Roared), Concordia stands as a testimate that bigger nations with more money and higher educations are not necessarily happier or more grounded in reality. Nor that they can wirld their power any more wisely.
This is, of course, a takeoff on Romeo and Juliet (by some English writer or so I hear). This time the Romeo (Romanoff) is son of the Soviet Ambassador to Concordia while Juliet is daughter of his American counterpart. Ustinov is the leader of Concordia with more than a touch of mischief and Cupid in his soul. His character is an observer of people and he knows what makes us "tick."
The scenes where he is going back and forth between the two Ambassodors, playing each against the other, is beautiful and very funny.
Notable in this is the appearance of a young Peter Jones, later to be famous as the voice of the book in Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, and of John Gavin, then an actor and later an Americal Ambassador himself.
If you are looking for a grandious movie with almost-too-clever-for-its-own-good dialog and huge sets and even extras that don't look at the camera, then you will not like this one. But, if you too have a soft spot for romance, like Peter Ustinov movies (he wrote and directed as well as starred in this) and don't mind having a somewhat haunting musical melody running through you head after seeing this, then get this or tape it on one of the movie channels.
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