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This unusual, way-out, black comedy about the destruction of humanity via nuclear weapons is like a surreal, gay dream. Filmed in 1967, it takes place in the near future of 1972. Courtenay and Blakley are flying a plane containing two nuclear bombs and an additional radioactive weapon that's contained in an impenetrable box. When the plane begins to crash, they offload the weapons, per their orders, and abandon the plane themselves. They wash ashore on a partially uninhabited Greek island in (inexplicably) just their underwear and have trouble coming up with a reasonable excuse they can give the villagers. Meanwhile, Wanamaker already believes them dead and amasses a team of soldiers to descend on the island and retrieve the lost weaponry. In order to keep suspicion down, they arrive in sportswear and present themselves as hotel builders. However, the sportswear is so hilariously fruity and since there are no women in their party, Courtenay and Blakley assume that they're a band of homosexuals! Adding to the confusion are a goatherd and his wife who have taken the boxed weapon to their hut and are trying every means they can think of to open it, believing it to have gold inside. Eventually, with all the interest on the part of the "hoteliers", swarms of tourists swoop down on the island and practically take it over. Then, when relics are discovered, archaeologists head there, too! It is here that Bergen makes her long-awaited appearance. She sets her sights on one of the disguised soldiers (Ogilvy) and complicates matters even more with her excavation equipment. The whole film is a comedy of errors as characters continuously misinterpret one another and nearly miss connecting with each other. The ending is abrupt, to say the least. but at last the title makes sense. Courtenay and Blakley make a truly odd duck pair and their Mutt 'n Jeff routine is only sporadically amusing, if at all. Fans of theirs owe it to themselves to see this, though, as they parade around for most of the film in the flimsiest of white briefs, especially Courtenay's almost thong-like undies! Wanamaker is forceful and displays quite a fit body of his own. His team of men wears the most bizarre and hallucinatory clothing imaginable. Nearly all of them are drop-dead gorgeous and their clothes are built to show off their assets as much as possible (trunks and clamdiggers with pieces cut out, impossibly snug crotches, shirts with mesh fronts, et al...) Bergen has a surprisingly brief role, but she does impress with her stunning looks. Never more tan or blonde, her clothes make the most of her youthful body as well and she gives the film a lift with her energy (even if her acting hadn't fully taken root yet.) Though the film is rather patchy and confusing at times (the cast wasn't even allowed to know the plot!), there is a story at work here and some thought given to the evils of greed, dominance, militarism, materialism, etc... It just isn't as coherent as one might like. The primary appeal is the chance to see Bergen at her loveliest, the frenetic dancing of the tourists, the wacky costumes of virtually everyone and the fleet of healthy men in various stages of undress.
I disagree with many of the other comments here. This film is truly worth seeing, although it is hard to find. I caught it on the Fox Movie Channel. True, the editing is crude and the film has an uneven feel. But the amateurish feel only adds to the charm, and the viewer has many messages he can choose to take with him or not. The costuming seems to parody the then current London mod craze with hilarious results. Many of the costumes for both men and women have strategically placed "cut-outs" that make the attire seem both naughty and funny at the same time. See this film for the costumes if no other reason. I think you will find this little comedy of errors charming.
I watched this movie on-line (couldn't find it any other way - search
for the Greek title "Όταν τα Ψάρια Βγήκαν στη Στεριά") for the main
reason that it was filmed at the village my mother came from, Galaxidi,
which is not an island but nevertheless looks and feels like an island.
In fact, my grandmother owned the only hotel at the time and it was
used to host the leading actors, while she herself had to host the
music composer at her home (Theodorakis), the place I am currently
sitting to write this review while on vacation.
The film is certainly weird, I guess Kakogiannis tried to do something progressive on his own after the wild success he met with "Zorba the Greek". One has to take into account that 1967 was the beginning of a 7 year dictatorship period for Greece where the military was in control. At that time there was a push to promote tourism and align Greece to the modern times, even if that meant dressing people in funny costumes to follow the hippie trends, show tolerance to homosexuality and the whims of tourists. I think it was around that time that the Greek islands like Myconos, Rhodos & Corfu became tourist attractions.
The film did remind me a bit of Dr. Strangelove and the dancing style looked really familiar making me believe that it was Fotis Metaxopoulos doing the Choreography (he did it for the majority of Greek films of the time).
I mostly liked the 2 stranded pilots and the leading actress that came late in the film but it still looked gorgeous. I somehow expected a happy ending so the abrupt finish was a bit of a surprise.
I think the film is enjoyable and is worth seeing to get the hippie feeling of those times.
Michael Cacoyannis, the Greek director, working on his own material,
gives us an intriguing look at a would be catastrophic end for all the
people in a remote Greek island where nothing ever happens, but where
just by a freak accident, it is suddenly possible.
We meet the Navigator and the Pilot, two Englishmen that have been wrecked after their aircraft, carrying two atom bombs, suffer an accident. This accident, and its dire consequences, bring to the island of Makos, in the Aegean Sea, a team of investigators led by Elias, who pretends they are interested in building a hotel in the arid place. The canny inhabitants of the island are confused as to why do they pick a place in the middle of nowhere instead of right on one of the lovely beaches.
Throughout the film we watch the two crew members running around the island in tattered briefs that, at times, seem not to hide any of the two men's charms. Word gets out that Makos is going to become fashionable and soon the jet set descends in the place, attired in weird futuristic costumes.
The island suddenly changes into a touristy place where the fun goes on forever, bu unaware of the danger from the possibility of the bombs exploding at any moment. There is an ironic twist when a peasant couple discovers one of the devices. Not knowing what it is, they are able to cut with acid into the strange box only to find out strange balls. The woman decides to keep two for her young son to play, but ultimately, the husband, upon discovering them, and thinking they are nothing, throws them into the water system.
The film seems sadly dated. Since there are so many characters, no one seems to dominate the proceedings. Tom Courtney and Colm Blakely are good as the Navigator and the Pilot. Sam Wanamaker is the head of the people trying to find the devices. Candice Bergen is seen as a model type who sets shop in the island.
I saw this film as a kid and was fascinated by it. I´ve always wanted to see it again but it seems hard to find. I hope to see it again someday. Young suntanned Candice Bergen on a Greek island, asked to play "arrogant" since Julie Christie was busy. There are also supposed to be a lot of men around... + some trippy 60´s fashions, music and dances.
(from the back cover of "The Day The Fish Came Out" OST album) "Michael
Cacoyannis was the writer, producer and director of "Zorba the Greek."
He has combined these same artistic forces and added his own costume
designs for his newest production, "The Day The Fish Came Out."
Since many of the previous comments make mention of the costumes, I humbly submit that IMDb should add this credit to both the movie's and director's pages.
When this film was recently aired, my roommate and I were discussing the costume design and wondering if the designer was someone like André Courrèges or another mod sixties designer, because many of the elements seemed familiar. (Ambra Danon used some similar elements in the costumes for the undercover policemen in "La Cage Aux Folles II", such as mesh, hot pants, patent leather, and cut outs.) My roommate happens to own the soundtrack, and much to our surprise we found the above quote on the album cover. Mystery solved!
I was 15 when I saw this movie, and it really got to me. I remember
well the paranoid fears it set into my teenager mind, as making me
aware of the annihilation danger we were all living in, if only...
Definitely, it became one of THOSE "warning-movies" that prevented the
disaster to happen (same as Stanley Kramer's "On the Beach", for
instance) - what we could call: "An anti-fulfilling prophecy" (by
contrast with the "self-fulfilling" ones).
By all means, it's a very subtle and intelligent piece of work. The harsh humor, with black and erotic overtones, the pointed satire, the sharp accents of social criticism, all contribute to build up that kind of deliberately deceit that eventually becomes all the more efficient. The perverse fun builds up with a well mastered precision, until the final frenzy that precedes the radioactive poisoning - a well deserved bow for Cacoyannis, in this sense, as he proved to coordinate such an exact vision, different of the wider and deeper poetry or grandeur of his other movies. Now, decades later, I can still feel how the demented laugher froze in my throat, the moment when that haunting final shot suggested total extermination. "Attention, please! Attention, please! Attention, please!..." - for years, I've repeated it in my mind, never having enough of that unique, and so strong, warning; again, it's kindred with Kramer's "There is still time, brother!"
I remember seeing this in 1980's on TV (cable or something). Even then
(15-20 years after the film was shot) it looked still futuristic and
almost nightmarish prophetic. The film definitely has its virtues and
is very much worth seeing and though not perfect (hence 8 out of 10),
it is excellent both as entertainment and as reflection on the human
nature. Two points:
1) Don't be misled by the apparent ease and simplicity with which the characters are depicted sometimes and with which the movie starts -- upon a reflection, you may find that not all, that takes place in the movie, is graphically explained to the viewer, and that sometimes the viewer is expected to do their own thinking (and perhaps imagining) in order to connect the dots of the plot (e.g. take the character of Electra Brown and what causes her to say "Peter! Well, that's that!"). There is more to this film than a quick browsing through the scenes might reveal.
2) Several of the previous reviews have pointed out a lack of realism in the dressing of the characters and, perhaps, in their dancing (and in other aspects of their appearances), they point that people did not dress like that in the 60's neither did they dance like that. Well, I have a feeling (with no disrespect meant) that these reviews have missed a major point: the film is representing the future. The fact that today 1972 is in the past is irrelevant -- then, in 1967 this was in the future. The script was written in 1966, the film was made in 1967, but it depicts the 'future' -- 1972, which was still whole five years ahead. Given that in the 60's for five years the fashion, the way of life and the experience of the world for many people had changed quite radically, the common expectation and perception in 1966 were that the world in 1972 would be vastly different, the fashion would be different, the people would dance differently, perhaps even talk, walk and act differently than they were doing it in 1967. Year 1972 seemed so distant, given the rate of changes in the lives of many people in the 60's, that it would be in today's terms almost equivalent to perhaps 2072. For this reason, not only the director wanted to make the costumes very different from those worn in the 60's, but he had to -- because in the minds of the viewers he was depicting almost a distant future. For example note the talk about the landing on the moon -- in 1967 this was only a future possibility). As to my personal impression: I quite enjoyed it all -- the attempt to guess what people might be wearing in the future, what kind of a dance would become fashionable and even how people might one one day be booking their own holidays using computers (remember: in 1967 most people would only have seen a computer in another film, and even then that computer would have been shown to have a 'front panel' with switches toggled by a maniacal operator, cf. with what this movie shows for the 'distant' 1972: a QWERTY keyboard on which the character has to type the name of the destination. This was 'magic' in 1967.
Bottom line: thoroughly recommend this movie -- entertaining and thought-provoking, and simply fun to watch. What it says about the methods of the governments and certain organisations to deal with dangerous incidents seems to be so true to life, that since then it has been repeated in reality at least several times. In the beginning of the movie the 'Commander' tells the staff: "Keep your heads and pretend that nothing has happened". Weren't the staff at Tchernobyl and Fukushima power plants, or the Kursk submarine, asked to do the same, until it was no longer possible to hide the true extend of the events? And did not this approach cost human lives, prolong and worsen the disaster?
This isn't a great movie, and not even really a good movie, but it is...well, something. It seems to be the wacky, 1960s, Greek bastard/child of "Dr. Strangelove" and "The Russians Are Coming". It popped up recently on the Fox Movie Channel. Tom Courtenay was playing very serious in "Doctor Zhivago" a couple of years earlier. Here he is trying for laughs and mostly in his underwear. In fact there are lots of pretty people wearing very little, and when they are wearing something it's often designed by the director/writer/producer himself, and it's beyond the valley of mod. In fact, the movie could use more mod and more Grecian scenery. Recommended if you like movies from the late 60s.
Where can I get a copy of this film? It was shown in late '67 in London
and after very bad reviews was closed after 2 weeks and never seen
again. The British Film Institute, when I asked over 10 years ago, only
had some storyboards but no copy.
Having read the comments about the confused nature and baffling plot of the film, I can only support these from the point of view of someone who was an extra in the film. Yes we had to wear cheaply made primary coloured cotton clothes (and in my case some wrap-round 'shades' that made sweat run into your eyes.) I was travelling in an old VW van with fellow students, and we were recruited in Athens, and paid 10 shillings a day each with a cold chicken meal thrown in. Filming seemed chaotic and often appeared to made up on the spot (a bunch of bikers were filmed at one point), and at night most takes were stopped when the arc lamps burnt out. The dead fish in the harbour mostly sank. The third assistant director had great fun trying to get us to act as a crowd. The local cops prowled about looking for some longhairs to beat up (not us though as we had wheels).
The wonderful Sam Wanamaker looked stately on set, Candice Bergen looked very nice from where I stood in the background on a night shoot, Tom Courtney looked lonely off set. Colin Blakeley became a favourite actor of mine when I spotted him as I walked down the harbour towards the house used as the wardrobe, lurking in costume rags. The Wardrobe Mistress - a formidable women - passed by and told him in forthright terms to clear off as we were on the set (the whole harbour). With a grunt he shambled off in the character of a tramp. Minutes later he was on camera scoffing food at a table! Priceless! Where can I get a copy of this film?
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