Clive Langham (Sir John Gielgud) spends one tormenting night in his bed suffering from health problems and thinking up a story based on his relatives. He is a bitter man and he shows, ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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...
...
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Doctor Mark Eddington
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Dave Woodford (as Dennis Lawson)
...
Miss Boon
Milo Sperber ...
Mr. Jenner
Anna Wing ...
Karen
Peter Arne ...
Nils
Tanya Lopert ...
Miss Lister
Joseph Pittoors ...
An Old Man
Samson Fainsilber ...
The Old Man
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Storyline

Clive Langham (Sir John Gielgud) spends one tormenting night in his bed suffering from health problems and thinking up a story based on his relatives. He is a bitter man and he shows, through flashbacks, how spiteful, conniving and treacherous his family is. But is this how they really are or is it his own vindictive slant on things? Written by Archie Moore <ar.moore@student.qut.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

9 February 1977 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Провидение  »

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(Eastmancolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First cinema film of Denis Lawson. See more »

Quotes

Clive Langham: Don't you think to have only one bastard after sixty years of action is almost tantamount to self denial?
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User Reviews

A cold, intelligent exercise in the art of film making.

Renais "Providence" has all the hallmarks of cinema at its artistic best. Every component of film making is expertly handled. David Mercer's literary screenplay is a joy to listen to, especially when delivered by the likes of Dirk Bogarde and of course the legendary John Gielgud. The visuals are haunting and perfectly shot with detailed attention to set and costume. Miklos Rosza's soundtrack is in total accordance with the work as a whole, never intrusive, while adding to the rich tapestry that is "Providence". Renais too has assembled a wonderful if somewhat odd cast, which suitably serve this somewhat odd film.

Gielgud plays a dying author whose mind is racing with fantasies peopled by members of his family. His character Clive Langham is depicted as a ribald, sensual, womanizer. Yet his fantasies, making up the bulk of the film, are curiously cold and stark. They are played in bleak settings with an ever present sense of impending catastrophe, though remaining totally devoid of emotion. These imaginings are at completely at odds with their creator. The extreme incongruousness of these fantasies with the character to whom they belong, remains a mystery. This detracts much in the way of emotional impact which is very much lacking in the film, whether intentional or not. The elimination of emotion leaves "Providence" a cold, wonderfully intelligent exercise in the art of film making.

Renais has assembled an intriguing cast headed by the superb Gielgud. Dirk Bogarde whose performances have often been tinged with a cold, sauve superciliousness brings this unpleasant quality to an unparalleled level of extremity. Even the usually over emoting Ellen Burstyn delivers a restrained performance. Elaine Stritch has to be the oddest choice for the role being so contrary to her well known persona. Never has a more unlikely coupling been presented than Stitch and Bogarde as lovers. Yet in this emotionless void, even that becomes acceptable.

"Providence" is a highly unusual, important film and shouldn't be missed by the discerning film enthusiast. Yet despite the wealth of cinematic craft on display it remains an unsatisfying experience.


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