Watch The Comedians
- 2 hr 31 min
Set in the volatile political landscape of Haiti in the late 1960s, "The Comedians" is an intense drama that features a star-packed cast, helmed by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, and complemented by Alec Guinness. The film adaptation of Graham Greene's novel of the same name, "The Comedians" takes us to Haiti where a group of tourists and expatriates have gathered in the capital, Port-au-Prince. While enjoying the traditional beauty of the Caribbean island, these foreigners are welcomed by ghostly, ethereal sounds of voodoo music.
With a more significant sense of tension and unease building, the novel and the film alike address the corrupt and oppressive government installed, its horrific mechanisms of torture, and the escalating rebellion among local people fighting for change. The dictator, known as the "Papa Doc," runs the country with an outsized and monstrous approach, leaving foreigners questioning their very presence.
Richard Burton is the main character, Brown, an English hotelier who seems unconcerned with the turmoil in the country. Taylor is his newest love interest, the American, Martha Pineda, who, despite her fear of getting hurt, is still able to push Brown to stand up and fight for what is right. Along with them, Alec Guinness, playing the role of the "Smith," a somewhat contemplative and mysterious character who explores the island's culture and people.
The movie portrays a cynical view of human nature, as the characters navigate their way through the conflict of Haitian politics. As the story unfolds, we see each character's true nature exposed, including their weaknesses, selfishness, greed, and cowardice, acting as a counterpoint to the intensity of the situation. Burton's character Brown quickly realized that choosing neutrality and apathy is no longer an option.
All three leading actor's performances are admirable, Burton and Taylor's on-screen chemistry, in particular, sparkles. The audience will find themselves enticed by the complexity of the characters they portray. Guinness's portrayal of the Smith deserves recognition with his deadpan delivery, powerful performance, and subtle wit adding a bit of levity to the serious plot. The supporting cast is excellent too and adds a lot to the plot and the portrayal of the conflict.
"The Comedians" is a complex and riveting drama that probes beneath the surface of the beautiful island, Haiti, which during this period was plagued by conflict and unrest. It takes the viewer along a journey that is both physical and psychological, showing the horrors that humanity is capable of in situations of political exploitation, torture, and oppression.
The movie is directed by Peter Glenville, who does a fantastic job of bringing the essence of the Greene's novel to life. Peter Glenville's early years working in British repertory theaters rounds off to a directorial style that is not only unique in its approach but also beautifully embraces the atmosphere and tension within the script.
The film is not fast-paced by any means; it is an immersive experience that encourages the audience to reflect on the entire significance of its storyline. The screenplay and dialogues are thoughtful and provide ample substance to the development of the plot, aided by an exceptional soundtrack, which adds to the immersive quality.
In conclusion, "The Comedians" is an exceptional movie, bearing testament to Greene's skill as a writer and Glenville's ability to direct a thoughtful exploration of complex issues. The performances of Taylor, Burton, and Guinness are remarkable, and naturally come together in the climax of the film, making it all the more poignant. The movie is an essential watch for lovers of drama or anyone wanting a snapshot of a dark and poignant piece of history. "The Comedians" is a sobering experience, however, one that rewards those with patience and an open heart.
The Comedians is a 1967 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 31 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3.