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The Comedians (1967)

Approved | | Drama | 31 October 1967 (USA)
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A cynical Welsh hotel owner secretly romances a diplomat's wife in Haiti under the violent reign of the despot "Papa Doc" Duvalier.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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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
...
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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the first film where Richard Burton was paid more than his wife, Elizabeth Taylor. Burton got $750,000 while Taylor, the first actor to receive a $1 million fee for a single picture, settled for a mere half-a-million. 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

Brown: I don't believe in causes.
Dr. Magiot: The role of cynic doesn't really suit you, Brown.
Brown: I don't believe in play-acting either.
Dr. Magiot: You imagine because you've lost one faith, you've lost all? You're wrong, Brown. There is always an alternative to the faith we lose.
Brown: I have no faith in faith.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Lionpower from MGM (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
chilling depiction of Haiti
8 April 2014 | by See all my reviews

I saw this movie many years ago and it left me cold. When it came up again on cable, the combination of the stellar cast - Alec Guinness, Richard Burton, Peter Ustinov, Peter Ford, Lillian Gish, James Earl Jones, Liz Taylor - and a script based on a Graham Greene novel, prompted me to give it a second look. Maybe because I'm a lot older now I can appreciate its many qualities. Graham Greene's cynical, post-Catholic sensibility is clearly in evidence here. The production qualities are high, and the story line is engaging. The portrayal of the misery of Haiti and the terror of the Duvalier government with its tontons macoutes secret police, is chilling. It is still true today that if you look up "Third World Hell Hole" in your Funk & Wagnalls, there will be a picture of Haiti. The characters are well-drawn. Burton's character, Brown - who seems to be missing a first name - is a sardonic, cynical and jaded hotel owner who puts one in mind of Rick in Casablanca. His character transformation, involving the shedding of his cynicism, is very effectively portrayed. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Ford / Gish) might have been portrayed to be the slightly silly and naive characters they appear to be, but in the end they demonstrate a touching bravery and idealism. The weak spot here is Elizabeth Taylor's Martha Pineda. Her attempt, as an ambassador's European wife, at an accent is simply ridiculous, ranging from French (sorta), to British, to German (kinda) depending on the scene. In addition, the film makers decided that extra dollops of Rich and Liz's lovemaking scenes would be an added draw; not a good idea, as they slow down the action and force us to endure listening to Taylor. It's a long movie but it keeps us going to its tragic finale.


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