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The Comedians (1967)

Approved | | Drama | 31 October 1967 (USA)
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A cynical Welsh hotel owner secretly romances a diplomat's wife in Haiti under the violent reign of the despot "Papa Doc" Duvalier.

Director:

Peter Glenville

Writers:

Graham Greene (novel), Graham Greene (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Burton ... Brown
Elizabeth Taylor ... Martha Pineda
Alec Guinness ... Major H. O. Jones
Peter Ustinov ... Ambassador Manuel Pineda
Paul Ford ... Smith
Lillian Gish ... Mrs. Smith
Georg Stanford Brown ... Henri Philipot
Roscoe Lee Browne ... Petit Pierre
Gloria Foster ... Mrs. Philipot
James Earl Jones ... Dr. Magiot
Zakes Mokae ... Michel
Douta Seck Douta Seck ... Joseph
Raymond St. Jacques ... Captain Concasseur
Cicely Tyson ... Marie Therese
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Storyline

Set in the Haiti of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, The Comedians 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 <netropic@speakeasy.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They lie, they cheat, they destroy...they even try to love.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Bermuda | USA

Language:

English | French | Haitian | Spanish

Release Date:

31 October 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los comediantes See more »

Filming Locations:

Benin See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Average Shot Length = ~11.6 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~11.4 seconds. See more »

Goofs

When Brown and Jones wake up in the country graveyard, it is supposed to be morning and their shadows are clear on the large gravestone right behind them where they slept, even though it is bright all around them. But as Brown moves through the graveyard, his shadow splits into multiple shadows at different angles, revealing that there are multiple lights from different angles. And in fact, before long several more realistic sun-cast shadows appear on the ground around him from taller objects, pointing in the opposite direction from the artificial lighting, showing that the sun is actually behind and above them, just past noon, and not low in front of them. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Magiot: I'm worried about young Philipot. I had a message from him today.
Brown: Does he share your faith?
Dr. Magiot: He doesn't read Karl Marx, if that's what you mean. Rebels are not always communists, unless America insists.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Comedians in Africa (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mediocre film is never interesting or exciting enough
19 December 2009 | by highwaytouristSee all my reviews

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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