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In 1796, Captain George Brummell of the 10th Royal Hussars Regiment offends the Prince of Wales with his straightforward outspokenness and gets fired from the army but is chosen as the Prince's personal advisor.
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 <email@example.com>
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 »
They are waiting for Major Jones. For some reason they believe that only white men are experts in killing.
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Peter Glenville's "The Comedians" is a very difficult film for the average viewer. Based on a Graham Greene novel, it's about the political atmosphere in Haiti while under French rule. It was a box office flop in 1967 and is pretty much forgotten today.
That's sad, because this is an important film. Since the departure of Duvalier, the film has the added historical value it didn't have in 1967. It is another entry in the canon of Taylor-Burton collaborations. It also may be the only film in which Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton all appear in together. Plus, how can you trash a film that flaunts its' Haiti exteriors so joyfully?
The vast Panavision photography will be lost on TV screens, especially in the horrific pan and scan format. The best way to see this film is on a big screen and even that may be impossible these days. The title will confuse many (most will think it's about comedians in a comedy club), but it does have a hidden subtext: these people are "comedians" in a sense. They kid each other endlessly to avoid reality. In that context, "The Comedians" succeeds. It could benefit from some trimming, but that's a small complaint. I can't think of anyone else who would even attempt to make such a challenging film in such a chaotic climate.
***1/2 out of 4 stars
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