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The Balcony (1963)

Not Rated | | Drama | 17 October 1963 (UK)
In a fictional country, the Madam of a brothel satisfies the erotic fantasies of her customers, while a revolution is sweeping the nation.

Director:

Joseph Strick

Writers:

Bernard Frechtman (play), Jean Genet (play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Shelley Winters ... Madame Irma
Peter Falk ... Police Chief
Lee Grant ... Carmen
Peter Brocco ... Judge
Joyce Jameson ... Penitent
Jeff Corey ... Bishop
Arnette Jens Arnette Jens ... Horse
Ruby Dee ... Thief
Leonard Nimoy ... Roger
Kent Smith ... General
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Storyline

Shelley Winters is the madame of a house where customers play out their erotic fantasies, oblivious to a revolution which is sweeping the country. When her old friend, the chief of police (Peter Falk), asks her to impersonate the missing queen in order to reassure the people and halt the revolution, she offers instead three of her customers to play the general, bishop and chief justice, all of whom have died in the revolution. Written by bajac

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Children Under 16 Years of Age Will Not Be Admitted See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 October 1963 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

El balcón See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rejected by the British Board of Film Censors on 19 July 1963, but opened anyway at the Academy Cinema on 17 October 1963, courtesy of a local "X" certificate from the Greater London Council. The film ran 9 weeks and then moved on to the Academy's 11pm late show slot for a further 11 weeks. By then the BBFC had bowed to public opinion and passed the film for public exhibition on 12 December 1963. See more »

Quotes

Madame Irma: You can all go home now. To your own homes, your own beds. Where you can be sure everything will be even falser than it is here. Go on!
See more »

Connections

Featured in For the Love of Spock (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

The Soldier's Tale
Composed by Igor Stravinsky
Conducted by Robert Craft
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surreal Power Play
28 July 2005 | by fourcolorSee all my reviews

Directed by Joseph Strick, this 1963 movie is a heady mix of philosophy and psychology. The dialogue comes from the French playwright Jean Genet, and rises well above the literary merits of all but a few American films. Beyond its cerebral wordiness - which could well seem unintelligible, but could just as easily be found rewarding for its challenges - this film offers distinctive and remarkable observations on all manner of things, from identity & authority to violence, sex, & the will to power. The movie is largely shot in dark, eerie interiors, and it looks and feels stagebound: this is not necessarily a flaw. The stark & claustrophobic black & white frames help keep a simmering tension amid even the (darkly) humorous passages. The unconvincing "special effects", such as they are, should not be taken out of context: the occasional shots of the outside world are deliberately dreamlike & unrealistic. Redolent of the postwar avant-garde theater of Beckett and Ionescu, this is a surreal vision, and it's one worth exploring. (Shelley Winters performs a career-high bravura as the Madame, and the score is by Stravinsky.)


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