Dr. Augustus Fagan:
[on discovering that Paul has been sent down from university for "indecent behaviour"]
I have been in the scholastic profession long enough to know that no-one enters it unless he has some very good reason which he is anxious to conceal.
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I'd missed this when it was given a U.S. theatrical release and, considering its cast, thought I'd give it a whirl when it was shown today on the FOX Movie Channel. But, as it unreeled, the recollection of its lukewarm-to-poor reviews came vividly to mind. It's a thorough disappointment in lots of ways, beginning with a script that has barely a hint of what was, no doubt, a good example of novelist Evelyn Waugh's acerbic social satire. The production design, typical of most films then, British and American, is colorfully garish. And the waste of the acting talent of a phalanx of the best British character actors is awesomely prodigious, attributable, I'm sure, to the slack direction of one John Krish, whose meager filmography is testament to his utter mediocrity. I should have been forewarned by the psychedelic colors swirling under the main credits (Well, the year of production WAS 1968, after all.) and the soupy music of Ron Goodwin, whose syrupy strains inappropriately underline most of the film's unfolding. Worst of all was the misuse of the elegant Genevieve Page, an actress perfectly capable of playing a lady of privilege and breeding, who seems, in this one, to be an inexperienced amateur attempting a role for which she is almost entirely unsuited. What a pity!
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