Review: ‘The King of Marvin Gardens’

Admirers of director Bob Rafelson's previous feature, Five Easy Pieces, will be stunned by the tedious pretensions of his newest effort.

Admirers of director Bob Rafelson’s previous feature, Five Easy Pieces, will be stunned by the tedious pretensions of his newest effort.

Chief culprit is undoubtedly former film critic Jacob Brackman, who drafted the screeplay from a story contrived jointly with Rafelson. Tale centres on the relationship between two brothers – the older (Bruce Dern) a self-deceiving wheeler-dealer, flanked by two chippies (Ellen Burstyn and Julia Anne Robinson); the younger (Jack Nicholson) a self-effacing FM-radio monologist who allows himself to be seduced by his brother’s bravura lifestyle.

Yet for all the artistic and intellectual shortcomings, there are sufficient moments of demonstrable talent that suggest what Rafelson could have achieved with better material. Both Dern and Burstyn go far toward filling in the many characterizational holes.

The King of Marvin Gardens

Production

BBS/Columbia. Director Bob Rafelson; Producer Bob Rafelson; Screenplay Jacob Brackman; Camera Laszlo Kovacs; Editor John F. Link II; Art Director Toby Carr Rafelson

Crew

(Color) Extract of a review from 1972. Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Jack Nicholson Bruce Dern Ellen Burstyn Julia Anne Robinson Scatman Crothers Charles Lavine
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