A cynical Welsh hotel owner secretly romances a diplomat's wife in Haiti under the violent reign of the despot "Papa Doc" Duvalier.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Brown
...
Martha Pineda
...
Major H. O. Jones
...
Ambassador Manuel Pineda
...
Smith
...
Mrs. Smith
...
Henri Philipot
...
Petit Pierre
...
Mrs. Philipot
...
Dr. Magiot
...
Michel
Douta Seck ...
Joseph
Raymond St. Jacques ...
Captain Concasseur
...
Marie Therese
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Storyline

Set in the Haiti of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, The Comedians tells the story of a sardonic Welsh hotel owner and his encroaching fatalism as he watches Haiti sink into barbarism and poverty. Complications include his inability to sell the hotel so he can leave, a friendship with a rebel leader, some politically "charged" hotel guests, an affair with the German-born wife of a South American ambassador, and the manipulations of a British arms dealer who's in over his head. Written by Max Chandler <netropic@speakeasy.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They lie, they cheat, they destroy...they even try to love.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

31 October 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los comediantes  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First film Alec Guinness and James Earl Jones appeared in together. They were later, of course, in the Star Wars films, which also starred Elizabeth Taylor's former step-daughter, Carrie Fisher. See more »

Goofs

When Brown and Jones wake up in the country graveyard, it is supposed to be morning and their shadows are clear on the large gravestone right behind them where they slept, even though it is bright all around them. But as Brown moves through the graveyard, his shadow splits into multiple shadows at different angles, revealing that there are multiple lights from different angles. And in fact, before long several more realistic sun-cast shadows appear on the ground around him from taller objects, pointing in the opposite direction from the artificial lighting, showing that the sun is actually behind and above them, just past noon, and not low in front of them. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Magiot: I'm worried about young Philipot. I had a message from him today.
Brown: Does he share your faith?
Dr. Magiot: He doesn't read Karl Marx, if that's what you mean. Rebels are not always communists, unless America insists.
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Connections

Featured in The Comedians in Africa (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A good effort that succeeds in many areas, but still falls short of greatness
6 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After delighting audiences in director Franco Zeffirelli's 1967 hit adaptation of Shakespeare's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, the Burtons' popularity with audiences seemed to be on the wane as their next film, Peter Glenville's THE COMEDIANS (1967) became their first full-fledged box office disappointment. There was much publicity surrounding the political thriller as it shot in Africa (masquerading as Haiti) and the fact that Taylor accepted half her usual salary and took second billing behind Burton kept gossips wagging for months (she reportedly only took the part out of fear of being replaced with Sophia Loren). But when the film opened, critics found it slow and talky and audiences simply seemed uninterested. Although the film is never quite as interesting or as suspenseful as it could have been, I dare say that THE COMEDIANS probably plays a great deal better today without the heavy expectations of the time surrounding it.

Graham Greene does a respectable job of paring down his complex novel for the screen, and director Glenville keeps the film moving at a reasonable pace in spite of its lengthy runtime of 150 minutes. The film is always interesting and occasionally gripping, although Greene and Glenville keep the audience at a relative distance which prevents the picture from striking as hard as it could have. Burton is in good form, and Alec Guinness, Paul Ford, and Lillian Gish all turn in top notch support (only Peter Ustinov feels under utilized). Unfortunately, Taylor is dreadfully miscast as a German military wife – complete with a woefully unconvincing accent – and her ill-fitting presence creates several lulls in the film as the number of scenes between her character and Burton's character are increased (in order to give the diva her proper screen time) which hampers a few long stretches of the film and slightly undermines what could have been a first-rate effort.


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