“One of these days they’ll be coming for me with a straight jacket.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
It’s not very hard to look “past director Karel Reisz’s deceptively charming veneer” and “see that Morgan’s fantasies and wild antics are symptomatic of impending personal disaster” — and I’m not someone who will simply “cheer Morgan’s devil-may-care behavior”, or “laugh when Morgan threatens Charles”, or “ignore Leonie’s protests”. As Peary writes, “the most important aspect of this film is not how Morgan tries to win back the woman he loved and lost, but how Leonie deals with the often pathetic advances of a man she loves but can’t be with without destroying herself.”
Peary goes on to state that the “picture has lost much of its following because stylistically it is extremely dated”; he argues we’ve “long overdosed on freeze frames, fast-speed photography, insertions of old movies, and juxtaposition of images signifying ‘illusion’ and ‘reality’.” I’m not sure that still holds true; but the repeated insertion of clips from Tarzan Triumphs (1943) and King Kong (1933) — as well as Morgan’s imagining the world around him as a jungle — feel forced. By the time things get fully (and tragically) ridiculous near the end of the movie, and Morgan puts on his full-body gorilla suit, it’s clear the film has gone in directions that will either resonate with viewers or not.
It’s possible that this all played much fresher in the 1960s; but nowadays, one simply feels sad about Morgan’s untreated illness and frustrated at Redgrave for giving him such a long leash.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: