This film, for one reason or another, was never released in the United States but here it is, all spiffed up for the new century with a 35 mm wide-screen print that has been made from the original camera negative. The production notes that are available in the Nuart Theatre lobby also inform us that the cinematography is by “the legendary” Raoul Coutard although the quality of the film and color look pretty ordinary to me.
A good deal of the dialogue leads the audience into a quagmire of shallow observation that would be laughable if it wasn’t taking itself so seriously but alas, it does just that. There is a barroom scene where the characters on screen seem to be participating in a backward form/function conversation of intellectual one-upmanship and it is typical of the baloney that writers and directors could get away with back in the 1960s.
Much of this production is just bad filmmaking. Often, the actors step on each other’s lines and, in one scene where a gnomish little man has just been struck on the head and rendered unconscious, he flinches as another blow is headed his way. The acting, for the most part is stilted and the direction seems to be missing entirely in some sequences. The sound is absolutely wretched. The volume wanders about for no apparent reason and simply lays mute in others.
Marianne Faithfull, a popular British singer of the day, delivers a cameo, singing her big hit “As Tears Go By.” The song is delivered a cappella and without facial expression and seems to be thrown in for no particular reason. I remember exiting a theater with a friend back in the 1960s after seeing Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blowup,” another pointlessly convoluted art flick of the day. Neither of us was willing to admit to the other that we hadn’t understood a word of what we had just seen, so we had some sort of pseudo-intellectual discussion that also made no sense to us.
“The emperor has no clothes” pretty much sums up this entire genre of film making. Enter at your own risk.
?JEFF KLEMZAK is a film fan from La Crescenta who had hoped to never see the 1960s again.