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Set in the Haiti of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, this movie tells the story of a sardonic Welsh hotel owner and his encroaching fatalism as he watches Haiti sink into barbarism and poverty. Complications include his inability to sell the hotel so he can leave, a friendship with a rebel leader, some politically "charged" hotel guests, an affair with the German-born wife of a South American ambassador, and the manipulations of a British arms dealer who's in over his head.Written by
Max Chandler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the last few shots in the movie, as the Character is leaving the airport, there is initially a departing Vickers VC10 airliner flying overhead from right to left, this changes to a close up, followed by a shot of the same airliner now flying into the distance - unfortunately this is different 4 engine Jetliner, probably a Boeing 707. See more »
I'm worried about young Philipot. I had a message from him today.
Does he share your faith?
He doesn't read Karl Marx, if that's what you mean. Rebels are not always communists, unless America insists.
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Mediocre film is never interesting or exciting enough
This had all the making of a first rate political drama. There is an acclaimed novelist whose novel this was adapted from, an exciting premise (British expatriates in Haiti, brutally ruled by the brutal and eccentric "Papa Doc" Duvliar's, get caught up in political oppression and rebellion), an star-studded ensemble cast, and exotic locations. So why does it fall so flat? Part of the problem is that it the film is overlong, lasting for around two and a half hours. The result is a story which moves very slowly with a lot of excess chat. Also, there is too much emphasis on the dreary soap opera love triangle of the three main characters (Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Peter Ustinov). The Burton character, a cynical hotel owner of British decent, is obviously copied on the Humphrey Bogard character in "Cassablanca." The film also fails to take advantage of the official oppression and corruption which is the cause of the country's problems. There is little sense of danger until the last half hour, and even then the action is sporadic. There is also a failure to take advantage of the locations. The film was shot in Benin, an African country which isn't a convincing substitute for Haiti, though there was obviously no way this could have been shot in Haiti itself. But the photography is pretty ordinary. There are a few good scenes, including a voodoo ceremony and a shootout in a cemetery. Also, some supporting characters are actually rather interesting, helped by fine performances by James Earl Jones as a surgeon who supports the rebels and Raymond St. Jacques as a sinister police commander who tortures and murders people as casually as most people would order a take-out lunch. Unfortunately, but most of the film is a case of missed opportunities. It's passable, but overlong and never worthy of the talent that went into it.
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