Originally an absurdist play by Eugene Ionesco, Rhinoceros tells the story of a French town plagued by rhinoceroses. These are not ordinary rhinoceroses, but people who have been victims of "rhinoceritis." Or is it something else entirely? But, why are they turning into rhinoceroses and what is Ionesco trying to tell us about society? Written by
Jeff Schoner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Much maligned film is really not as bad as it's reputation states. Yes the scenes and scenarios are at times awkward and stilted. The sets and color schemes run from being drab to horribly garish. The music and is loud and obnoxious and doesn't fit the mood of the film at all. Also despite having the name in it's title and being all about rhinos you never actually see one. Sure it's low budget, but even some stock footage of one from "Wild Kingdom" would have helped.
Yet even with all this the film still has it's moments. It's based on the Eugene Ianesco play and involves everyone getting turned into a rhinoceros. Mostel, Wilder, and Black all resist, but slowly unravel to the 'peer pressure' and wanting to be 'part of the crowd'. The outrageous premise is simply a front to examine the human phenomenon known as conformity, both on those that do and those that don't. It is rare that anything tackles this subject with any seriousness study, yet this one does. The observations are, believe or not, quite interesting and accurate. Besides Wilder really does make a terrific non-conformist.
The best part though, may actually be one of filmdom's most bizarre scenes ever. It features Wilder and Mostel alone in a room, where Mostel slowly turns into a rhino. The scene goes on for well over twenty five minutes and features no special effects or makeup. It relies totally on Mostel and his acting range to pull it off. He gives it an amazing amount of energy and seems more than up to it's weird demands. Definitely worth a look for this scene alone.
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