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I have seen the film three times over the past thirty years and each
time I loved it. The subject of the film must have attracted director
Richard Brooks who was essentially a screenplay writer who later became
a director. He knew the merits of a strong script with philosophical
lines from Conrad. Coppola was to use the related original material
(Conrad's) in his "Apocalypse Now" for the Brando scenes several
decades after this film was made and mostly forgotten.
What Brooks does not realize is that lines like "it only takes a split second to make a coward a hero or turn a hero into a coward" and "every sinner wants a second chance at redemption, without realizing he is damned for ever" are philosophical lines that one expects to hear from very literate individuals. Here, in "Lord Jim," the lines are often spoken by the dregs of society. Jim, of course, we are told by the narrator (Jack Hawkins' Marlowe) was philosophical, dreamed of heroism, and was a gentleman.
The film is made up of three distinct segments: 1. the "sinking" of SS Patna 2. The liberation of Patusan ("Patna" + "us" make up the name Patusan, remarks Jim to his love) and 3. The battle with a group of scoundrels (led by James Mason's 'Gentleman' Brown) with some fine speeches on honor, death, and fear.
Each segment could stand alone but together the film adds considerable worthiness that exceeds the action and plot, the elements that most viewers use to judge a movie. The lesser characters in the film add color and counterpoints to the script. Christian Marquand's French Captain who defends Jim's "cowardice" with the words "fear can make us do strange things" or Paul Lukas' Stern who compares his dead butterfly collection with the "wonderful, perfect human beings that God created" or the native who wonders why some pray to one god instead of a host of Gods are a few examples of dialogs that force you to reflect on what you heard.
The film's subject covers several religions. The fervent Muslims on the way to Haj survive the storm. The Christian Jim prays to his God. The Buddhists pray to Buddha. And the natives pray to their array of gods (a touch of Hinduism?). Yet, the film is not a religious film. But faith in God is underlined at every stage.
Conrad was Polish and a seaman before he became a writer. Brooks is an American. O'Toole leads a cast that is predominantly British. Daliah Lavi is Israeli, Marquand is French, Jurgens is German...The film is truly international.
Brooks not only wrote and directed the film but this was the first film that he produced. The film proved to be ideal for O'Toole reprising his roles of "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Becket", roles that draw thin lines between cowardice and heroism and consequent attempts to redeem oneself. The film is not great cinema--but will remain for me cinema based on related major literary works ("Lord Jim" and "Heart of Darkness", both narrated by the fictional Marlow) adapted for the screen with some delightful performances from O'Toole, Mason, Wallach, and Marquand and commendable photography by Freddie Young.
The double edge of humanity: fear and courage. In his darkest hour, Lord Jim finds a redeeming path of self-sacrifice facing his past and the burden of a dramatic split-second decision. A coward´s decision aboard the Patna? Heroes before the action, dreaming of epic challenges often "freeze" in the face of danger. The survival instinct is in clear contradiction to the strong desire of young Jim to do good. Peter o´Toole reveals a dramatical and deep performance, outstandingly faithful to Conrad´s masterpiece. James Mason is superb giving life to an ignominious as well as charming dark face of evil. The vivid colour of the jungle and the thick river myst create the perfect atmosphere for this dark novel(with a major future influence in Coppola´s "Apocalypse now"). In this film you can see portrayed the all time dilema of our lives. Everyone in his or her lifetime will sometimes have to make a decisive split-second decision, that will change irreversibly his life and that of others. If it is the wrong decision, will we ever have a chance of redemption?
"Lord Jim" is a film that offers viewers satisfaction on many levels.
Although it is set in an exotic locale and has a considerable
amount of action, the real story of this movie is its exploration of
the human condition. Love, honor, courage, commitment and
redemption all come into play as the story moves from the sea to
the jungle. It reminds us how a split-second decision can alter
dramatically the course of our lives.
"Lord Jim" is a well-paced, engaging film. Peter O'Toole's thought-provoking and moving performance will stick in your mind long after you see this movie. I haven't read the book so I can't speak to the movie's faithfulness to the original text, but it does stand on its own legs as a thoroughly entertaining film. If you like movies such as "Lawrence of Arabia" or "The Sand Pebbles", you will definitely enjoy "Lord Jim." I highly recommend it.
Hopefully, it will become available on DVD soon.
Moving story of an idealistic seaman forced to deal with his act of cowardice and how he ultimately redeems himself. The film has good action sequences and a moving love story. Performances by Eli Wallach and James Mason are colorful and solid, and there are plenty of Peter O'Toole's trademark "vacant stares". Daliah Lavi is gorgeous and her role more substantive than those of her other films. I love Peter O'Toole's films from this period (Lawrence of Arabia, What's New Pussycat?, Night of the Generals) and this one is as good as most of them. I looked for this film on DVD and finally had to tape it off of AMC (in the good old days before they saturated their programing with commercials). I'd like to see it restored and re-released.
Based on the novel, this movie is not only representative of the period
piece that Joseph Conrad's story was, but also of movie-making at that
time (1965). It's an epic story told in the way that they did back then
--sweeping landscapes, exotic locales, hundreds of extras, good
performances and many questions regarding philosophical and practical
values. At times a bit clunky and unexplained, the movie is a study in
movie-making during that era.
It brings up the same issues that Conrad did in his book, sometimes so much so that the dialog feels as though it is dragging. O'Toole's character emotes plenty, despite acting flat for a good portion of the first third. The scene between him and James Mason is the spark of the piece. At 2:34, this movie flounders and drags in the middle. Still, it's a good piece to watch.
Peter O'Tooles eyes are disturbingly blue. Lots of visual detail, good cinematography, cheap special effects. It moves slowly and doesn't really explain the motivations of the main character very well. O'Toole is good but oblique. The movie doesn't really pick up until Eli Wallach shows up. He is quite good, cheerfully cruel and sadistic, and I think he may have taken things from this role that he later expanded on in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Curt Jurgens is delightfully seedy, a sweaty and cowardly drunk who needs a haircut. I don't know anything about the rating system here but I'm giving it a seven for just for watchability.
Conrad's novels,like those of Pasternak,are often read more for the mood and the tone than for the plot.In certain cases,the facts are the least important aspect.In my opinion,this is the state of "Lord Jim".The middle part does appear to be similar to a cross between a Tarzan movie,any film revolt against oppression,and "Treasure Island".Oh,but isn't Wallach's General,philosophical and sadistic,evily wise and perceptive,a vast improvement on the original?Sherif Ali was a crook,masquerading as a religious fanatic.The appearance of the pirates,however,enjoyable as it is,really proves to undermine Conrad's intrention.This is a bungled robbery,and Mason's sterling performance shows us a clever and insightful crook manipulating a dupe.In the original,the pirates appear almost as an instrument of fate,allowing Jim to destroy himself.Brown is Jim's unrecognized alter-ego;without acknowledging his own dark impulses,and dealing with them constructively,he(and the rest of us as well) fouls up his career and life.Everything else considered,this is still an enjoyable film,and a great tale of adventure.Watch it,but read the novel when it comes time to do the book report.
In 1900, Joseph Conrad published his extraordinary novel Lord Jim. Since then it has traveled around the world and received inter-national recognition and acclaim. In 1925, it was superbly adapted into a film called " Lord Jim ", which was re-made in 1965. In this version we have Peter O'Toole as Lord Jim. Basically, it tells the story of a young English sailor who joins the British Merchant Navy and feels he has found his calling. Having been injured, he is sent to recover in a hospital. Upon his discharge, he is anxious to return to sea, he signs on the first available ship called The Patna. The aging vessel has been assigned to transport Arab pilgrims to the middle East. A huge storm strikes the floundering ship causing the Crew to abandon ship. Jim is forced to choose and he jumps. The ship, however does not sink and the cowardly crew goes into hiding, all except Jim who insists on being court-martial-ed and disgraced. For the rest of his life, Jim must live with the consequences of his fateful decision. He travels deep into the jungles of Malasia, where he seeks solace, redemption and a second chance to prove himself. The movie cast includes, James Mason, Curd Jürgens, Eli Wallach and Jack Hawkins. The film has become a benchmark for O'Toole and a definite Movie Classic. It is filled with suspense, dark drama, physical action, explosions and spectacular sequences. The sum total of which created a not-to-be missed Classic for all. ****
... in Eli Wallach's barbarically philosophical warlord, "The General," and in the late, great James Mason's "Gentleman" Brown, a latter-day South Seas pirate, guilty of "even some things not mentioned in the Bible." I never read the Conrad book, so I can't compare the film to that, but only judge it as a film. And I think it is worth remarking that one film has two of the all-time coolest villains in it.
Exciting and brooding picture based on the complex novel written by
Joseph Conrad (who also wrote Darkness heart) and brought to the screen
in lavish budget and colorful visual style .After being discredited as
a coward, a 19th century seaman (Peter O'Toole) in British Merchant
Marine lives for only one purpose : to redeem himself. As he suffers a
deep scar and pain for the rest of his life . But then , he becomes
leader of a Southeast Asia village in spite of his past clouded by
allegations of betrayal and cowardice . Meanwhile , the native
villagers are being slavered by a group nasty cutthroats led European
thugs (Eli Wallach , Curt Jurgens) . As the belief shown in him by the
villagers is put to the test .
This is a thought-provoking and intelligent story based on Joseph Conrad's novel written in 1900. This prestigious novel has been simplified for easier compression , appreciation and nicely developing . This adventure flick contains , thrills , action , intrigue and wonderful outdoors . Excellent acting by Peter O'Toole in the title role , he is a sailor in Souteast Asia who is adopted by a suppressed village as its leader . After the film's tepid reception, especially for his own starring performance, a once-enthusiastic Peter O'Toole declared, 'It was a mistake and I made the mistake because I was conservative and played safe and that way lies failure'. Movie's biggest moments provided by strange acting by the great Peter O'Toole . Supporting cast is frankly sensational such as Curd Jürgens , Eli Wallach , Jack Hawkins , Paul Lukas , Daliah Lavi , Akim Tamiroff , Andrew Keir , Jack MacGowran ,Ric Young , Noel Purcel , Walter Gotell , among others .Evocative and exotic cinematography by Freddie Young , shot on location in Malacca, Malaysia Lantau Island, Hong Kong, China and Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Although the Cambodian government never demanded any script approval, one condition of its agreement to allow on-location shooting in the troubled nation was for the production company to build a lot of rooms addition to an existing hotel near the famed Angkor ruins .
Directed and screen-played with awesome style by Richard Brooks . He was a fine writer/director so consistently mixed the good and average which it became impossible to know that to expect from him next . Firstly he worked regularly as a Hollywood screenwriter . After that , his initial experience of directing was one of his own screenplays called ¨Crisis¨. The Richard Brooks films that have the greatest impact are realized during the 50s and 60s as ¨Cat on a hot tin roof¨, ¨Something of value¨ , ¨Elmer Gantry¨, ¨Sweet bird of youth¨, ¨In cold blood¨ , ¨Lord Jim¨. Brooks was a writer and director of Chekhovian depth , who mastered the use of understatement, anticlimax and implied emotion . His films enjoyed lasting appeal and tended to be more serious than the usual mainstream productions . Richards formerly directed two good Western titled ¨Bite the bullet¨ and ¨The professionals ¨ with various tough stars as Burt Lancaster , Lee Marvin , Jack Palance and Robert Ryan , including the same musician , Alex North , and similar outdoors . The ¨Lord Jim¨ is an authentic must see , not to be missed for buffs of the genre . A magnificent movie , hardly noticed for its theatrical release ; however , being nowadays very well considered . Rating : Above average because of its awesome acting , dialog , score are world class.
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