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We originally bought this film to market it as a film oddity...Kenneth Branagh's only nude role. I then throughly enjoyed the Cinematography, the beautiful Landscapes, and the delightful acting job done by Irene Papas. The comedy is subtle it is really a combination of a drama and comedy...a dramedy. Peploe does a nice job bringing interesting characters to the screen. So much so that when Lesley Manville's character makes a mistake you want to cuss her out and when Irene Papas' character pulls some outrageous stunts near the end you can laugh and cheer her on as much as the Greek villagers did in the film. The film does a really nice job conveying the adventure of travelling and will be enjoyed most by people who have traveled some...and of course should also be enjoyed by Islanders of all sorts!
High Season is a film to be viewed over and over. It's like a trip to the Greek Islands. The element of crime, along with the "love-gone-wrong" factor, the elegance and charm of Jackie Bisset, and of course, the unapologetically gorgeous setting of the Agean Sea, all lend a magical air to this film. It will appeal to anyone who had ever been to the islands. One can almost smell the heady marine breezes billowing about. Kenneth Branagh adds that touch of "Duh?" and his mousey whiney wife is the perfect foil. When he becomes enamored of Jackie he is has all the charm of a besotted fish! but he's still in character. The fact that Jackie's character fails to capture in her photo journal The Light of Greece, only emphasizes the fact that Greece is to be experienced, NOT read about or understood through pictures. Clare Peploe is pure genius with this film. It's a constant treat!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Terrifically fun movie from the 1980s starring a beautiful Jacqueline Bisset as a photographer dealing with personal and monetary problems, though her story is woven among several other subplots involving Kenneth Branagh (in an early and funny turn), James Fox (having emerged from a self-imposed retirement), Irene Papas (as a hilariously traditional Greek mother who hates the encroachment of tourism and modernism but has a penchant for lipstick and other modern beauty products), along with Sebastian Shaw (the original Anakin Skywalker from "Return of the Jedi"--look him up). The location is luminous--so much so that it prompted me to go out of my way and travel to Lindos a few years ago. It's a jewel of a town, on the southern side of the island of Rhodes, with a castle ruin overlooking whitewashed buildings and fluorescent blue waters. Might not be on the level of "Annie Hall", but a fun, diverting movie nonetheless.
It's really not awful, although not altogether good. Some commentors decried the lack of comedy in this supposed comedy. Well, it's really a lot more like irony, than laughing out loud. Wasn't much of a nude scene by Jackie Bisset either, but it could have been worse. She is still awfully beautiful, and nailed her character. There were a number of wry scenarios, and you have to give some credit to Irene Papas, here, too. I have to compliment the cinematography, but the Greek Isles scenery probably makes it easy to do well at that. Overall the film was just OK. Grade: C-
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