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The Balcony (1963)

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Reviews: 15 user | 3 critic

In a fictional country, the Madam of a brothel satisfies the erotic fantasies of her customers, while a revolution is sweeping the nation.

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Title: The Balcony (1963)

The Balcony (1963) on IMDb 6/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Madame Irma
...
Police Chief
...
Carmen
Peter Brocco ...
Judge
...
Penitent
...
Bishop
Arnette Jens ...
Horse
...
Thief
...
Roger
Kent Smith ...
General
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Storyline

Shelley Winters is the madame of a house where customers play out their erotic fantasies, oblivious to a revolution which is sweeping the country. When her old friend, the chief of police (Peter Falk), asks her to impersonate the missing queen in order to reassure the people and halt the revolution, she offers instead three of her customers to play the general, bishop and chief justice, all of whom have died in the revolution. Written by bajac

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet Madam Irma and her girls from the House of Illusion ... they make men live their wildest dreams !

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 December 1963 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Balconul  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although initially refused a UK cinema certificate by censor John Trevelyan the film was passed uncut after successful showings by local council authorities. See more »

Soundtracks

The Soldier's Tale
Composed by Igor Stravinsky
Conducted by Robert Craft
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User Reviews

 
Still Grips Me 43 Years After First Viewing
20 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I really was expecting a "skin flick" based on its lobby cards when I first saw this film adaptation of Jean Genet's "The Balcony" in the summer of 1963, but I was definitely in for an awakening -- rude perhaps but definitely an awakening.

I recommended the film to the owner of Gainesville, Florida's independent movie theater based on the original road show I had seen; however, I had to eat my words when he was only able to book the bowdlerized version that was available for distribution only a few short months after the film's original release. Perhaps too many people had been lured into theaters by the lobby card promise of a "skin flick" and were upset when they were greeted with a film that actually made the audience think for a change.

I rented the DVD today and watched the uncut version of "The Balcony" for the first time since that original viewing some 43 years ago. I took notice of the grainy stock footage used in most of the exterior scenes and compared them with the crisp images of the interior of the TV studio sound-stage, Madame Irma's house of illusions, and I wondered if this might not have been deliberate -- reality is actually grainy and slightly out of focus while our fantasy world is crisply delineated but still patently phony as when Peter Falk as George, the Chief of Police, breaks through the kraft-paper door or when the rocks -- in the Leonard Nimoy as Roger fantasy -- oscillate when touched.

Shelley Winters was ideal as Irma; I cannot think of another actress working in 1963 who could have done better in the part. The rest of the cast was also exceptional.

One note concerning another comment about Peter Falk's accent being Southern and German -- surely this was said in jest? Falk's accent was a combination of his native New York accent and a put-on Latin American/Spanish accent if it was anything. Again, that mixture of accents was in keeping with the part and with the fantasy.

"The Balcony" was definitely worth watching again some 43 years after I saw it during its first run. Will I still think so if I watch it after another 43 year interim? I think I probably will. . . .


4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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