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Waltz of the Toreadors (1962)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 19 September 1962 (France)
This is the end of a glorious military career: General Leo Fitzjohn retires to his Sussex manor where he will write his memoirs. Unfortunately, his private life is a disaster: a confirmed ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(play), (English translation) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
John Fraser ...
Lt. Robert Finch
...
Dr. Grogan
...
Estella Fitzjohn
Denise Coffey ...
Sidonia Fitzjohn
...
Agnes
Raymond Huntley ...
Ackroyd, Court President
Cardew Robinson ...
Midgley the Undertaker
John Glyn-Jones ...
Jenkins the Innkeeper
...
Rev. Grimsley
Vanda Godsell ...
Mrs. Emma Bulstrode, Dress Shop Proprietor
...
Rosemary, the young maid
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Storyline

This is the end of a glorious military career: General Leo Fitzjohn retires to his Sussex manor where he will write his memoirs. Unfortunately, his private life is a disaster: a confirmed womanizer, Leo has infuriated his wife Emily, now a shrewish and hypochondriac woman, all the more bitter as she still loves him. The General has two plain-looking daughters he dislikes and an attractive French mistress, Ghislaine, with whom he has had a platonic affair for seventeen years. When Ghislaine resurfaces, determined to complete her love with him and to get rid of Emily, Leo is at a loss what to do... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 September 1962 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Amorous General  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The names of many of the characters were changed for this film version of the play. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Robert Finch: I want to give you much more than my cold, Ghislaine, honest.
See more »

Connections

Version of Play of the Week: The Waltz of the Toreadors (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Edwardian tragic-comedy
2 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Peter Sellers first successful dramatic role of any stature is as General Leo Fitzjohn in this version of the play by Jean Anouilh. Although a success in the military (we see over the years as he rose to his present rank) he was married to a woman who was bed-ridden due to emotional problems, and he was never quite able to carry out his lifelong romance with his French girlfriend. His wife (Margaret Leighton) is a shrew, but she is one who never stopped loving her unfaithful husband - so she will never give him the divorce he'd want. His mistress (Dany Robins) is attractive, and ever hopeful. Unfortunately she has met the General's adjutant, Lt. Finch (John Fraser), who she finds available and able to return her love. So this four sided parallelogram develops as the center of the plays plot.

Sellers has had other affairs, all of which Leighton has had to live through. In one it turns out he had a child. Yet he is unable to break the chain linking him with this woman, who is both sympathetic and neurotic. He yearns and schemes to be with his mistress, but every time something (from a broken leg to a drinking contest) interferes. In the end he watches as he loses her, and he considers suicide.

Sellers had never had such a sad character before. Maybe the alcoholic movie projector operator in "The Smallest Show on Earth" came closest, but he was not the central figure of that film. Sellers showed the depressing effects of aging on the general, once a gallant physical specimen. He is fully aware of his aging, and his failure to attain true happiness (just the temporary enjoyment of sexual pleasure). As he contemplates his mortality, and plans suicide he tells his closest friend (Cyril Cusack), "I don't want to die." But he can't prevent that inevitability.

He did well with the role of Fitzjohn, and it paved the way for some of those bright figures such as his too Christian minister in "Heaven's Above", his triple roles in "Lolita" and in "Dr. Strangelove", and his final great part of Chance in "Being There". Fitzjohn was a taste of what was to come.


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