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The Comedians (1967)

Approved | | Drama | 31 October 1967 (USA)
Trailer
1:19 | Trailer

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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)
Reviews
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, 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 <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

Major H. O. Jones: If you can't be good, be careful !
See more »

Connections

References The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Forgotten, but really interesting
11 January 2010 | by dechampsmathieuSee all my reviews

When I bought "The Comedians" in DVD, I had never heard before of that movie, although I am a fan of the cinema of the specific era. Moreover, it surprised me I didn't know anything about a film with such an excellent cast: it isn't easy to find Burton, Taylor, Guinness, Ustinov, Gish and Ford in the same movie. And there was something else: it was based on a novel and written for the screen by an author whose work I admire: Graham Greene. Therefore, I was curious to find out why a movie with so many virtues flopped and was so soon forgotten. After watching it, I understood: "The Comedians" is a movie that was made for the general audience, a film that should be fun, fast and easy to digest, a typical Hollywood epic. However, it contains none of the classic ingredients: a) it isn't fun, it is a serious political drama, with a deeply British, cynical and black humour, b) it is not melodramatic enough and the love story between Burton and Taylor evolves quite unorthodoxically, without any clichés, c) it isn't fast at all, it's almost three hours without impressive action scenes and much - quite sophisticated - dialogue, d) it isn't easy to digest, it is a sad and bitter movie with an ambiguous ending. These are the reasons why "The Comedians" flopped, but they are also the reasons that make the film exceptionally interesting. Set in Tahiti during the dictatorship of Francois Duvalier ("Papa Doc"), an ideal location for Graham Greene's stories, it demonstrates the cruelty of the regime, through the story of 6 Westerners and some locals in the background. It is a big, flawless production providing food for thought accompanied by excellent cinematography, professional directing and a slow, but strong and memorable scenario. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the brutal dictatorship is exceptional, the actors give magnificent performances and it is also one of the few films that end without an answer, without a typical happy or tragic ending. I recommend it to viewers that enjoy films that provide more than a pleasant evening.


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