Morgan follows the frequently funny, sometimes pathetic but relentlessly lunatic exploits of an eccentric artist to his eventual, though not inevitable, incarceration in an insane asylum. Although it is established that the title character, played with zest and skill by David Warner, was always engagingly dotty, his latest bizarre binge is triggered by his opposition to ex-wife’s (Vanessa Redgrave) impending marriage to a sympathetic and likeable suitor.
Spare, straight-line plot follows Morgan’s misguided but amusingly slapstick attempts to win back his mate, Leonie, who, though displaying a tolerance and protectiveness bordering on the saintly, longs for a less frenetic and wearying life with a ‘normal’ husband. To director Karel Reisz’s credit, the suitor, well played by Robert Stephens, is never cast as a villain.
Schizophrenia seems to have infected Reisz’s direction. Instead of providing the subtle, gradually disintegrating character of Morgan, Reisz dwells on the comedic aspects of each prank, cunningly milked for maximum yaks, in the process ceding any hope of the observer taking Morgan seriously.
1966: Nominations: Best Actress (Vanessa Redgrave), B&W Costume Design