Review: ‘The Comedians’

The despair of people living under a despot may, indeed, be a sort of living death. Producer-director Peter Glenville's pic, scripted by Graham Greene [from his own novel], is a plodding, low-key, and eventually tedious melodrama.

The despair of people living under a despot may, indeed, be a sort of living death. Producer-director Peter Glenville’s pic, scripted by Graham Greene [from his own novel], is a plodding, low-key, and eventually tedious melodrama.

Greene’s screenplay rambles on through a seemingly interminable 156 minutes. Not the least of film’s flaws is the role played by Elizabeth Taylor (wife of South American ambassador Peter Ustinov), who has a recurring, deteriorating affair with hotel-owner Richard Burton

The very poorly-made story point is that Burton gradually, finds something to live for, in his eventual flight to join mountain rebels, pitiably equipped and pitilessly portrayed. Alec Guinness is a society-type arms promoter who fakes a military background. In a climactic scene where he confesses the fraud to Burton, Guinness excels.

The Comedians

Production

M-G-M. Director Peter Glenville; Producer Peter Glenville; Screenplay Graham Greene; Camera Henri Decae; Editor Francoise Javet; Music Laurence Rosenthal;; Art Director Francois De Lamothe

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Extract of a review from 1967. Running time: 156 MIN.

With

Richard Burton Elizabeth Taylor Alec Guinness Peter Ustinov Paul Ford Lillian Gish
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