HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
It Happened Here
Giant from the Unknown
211
Top of the Bill
Set It Off
No Way Out
Traffik
Pitch Perfect 3
Insidious: The Last Key
Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, The
Dirty Carnival, A
King of Hearts
Crowhurst
And the Same to You
Racer and the Jailbird
Superman and the Mole-Men
Phantom Thread
Sweet Country
Loophole
Irma La Douce
Brigsby Bear
Wish Upon
Gringo
Finding Vivian Maier
Shape of Water, The
Lady Bird
Endless, The
Universal Soldier: The Return
Lean on Pete
Carnival in Flanders
   
 
Newest Articles
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
   
 
  Leo the Last Near And FarBuy this film here.
Year: 1970
Director: John Boorman
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Billie Whitelaw, Calvin Lockhart, Glenna Forster-Jones, Vladek Sheybal, Louis Gossett Jr, Graham Crowden, Kenneth J. Warren, David De Keyser, Gwen Frangcon Davies, Ram John Holder, Doris Clark, Brinsley Forde, Patsy Smart
Genre: Drama, Weirdo
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Leo (Marcello Mastroianni) is the last in a line of European royalty and has arrived at his father's London mansion to recuperate. However, the area the mansion is situated in has become run down, mostly inhabited by poor black residents, and as Leo indulges in his hobby of birdwatching, pigeons in this case, he begins watching the residents in his cul-de-sac instead. All the while he is engaged to be married to the opportunistic Margaret (Billie Whitelaw) and in the thrall of his staff, specifically Laszlo (Vladek Sheybal), who is planning a revolution in Leo's home country. However, Leo's new interest in the people he sees through his telescope bring him a new outlook on life and will put him in conflict with his staff...

After the American-made Point Blank and Hell in the Pacific, director John Boorman was seen as an exciting new talent to watch, but typically as a man who goes his own way regardless of how commercial his projects may or may not be, his British follow-up Leo the Last was a complete failure, and watching it it's not difficult to see why. A chaotic examination of class, it starts out like some kind of arthouse Rear Window, with Mastroianni (who is quite charming under the circumstances) watching the world go by from his bedroom, but for a man who has always been told what to do and has never thought much about the world beyond his limited experience, he's about to get a rude awakening.

He doesn't exactly see the whole panoply of human life, and at first he doesn't see much difference between those he does see and his pigeons flying past. But characters do emerge after a while: the pimp, the prostitute, the pawnbroker, the black and the white, the old and the young. Leo is quite taken with Roscoe (Calvin Lockhart) who at one stage kidnaps one of the pigeons from the rooftop, prompting Leo to leave his house and follow Roscoe and girlfriend Salambo (Glenna Forster-Jones) to the local grocery store to witness their successful attempt to steal a frozen turkey to eat by releasing the pigeon in the shop.

Leo's problem is that he feels closest to those he spies on and distant from those he is living his life with, so he goes through the motions of decadent parties and exercise regimes (which we see thanks to a bizarre swimming pool full of naked people working out under the instruction of Leo's doctor) without feeling much but unhappiness and dislocation. For some reason Boorman sees fit to "explain" his themes of alienation with voiceovers and the sadly unimpressive music of Fred Myrow and Ram John Holder (who also appears as a preacher), only serving to make things even more obscure, and the hazy, dreamlike plotting doesn't help much either.

Eventually Leo puts away his telescope and starts to interact with the residents, generously giving Salambo's family a shopping trolley full of food as their unseen benefactor, but is horrified when Salambo's elderly father dies of overeating. That's not all that horrifies him as she is raped by the brutish pawnbroker (Kenneth J. Warren) on the day of the funeral, Leo watching impotently from his window and weakly calling for assistance. Then the story takes a turn towards class war as Leo's rich, white benefactors are pitted against the poor folk when he sides with the denizens of the cul-de-sac. Always threatening to be condescending, it's difficult to understand what Boorman and co-scripter Bill Stair are getting at, but the message that you may not be able to change the world but can still change yourself might be at the heart of it.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6451 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Boorman  (1933 - )

British director whose work can be insufferably pretentious or completely inspired, sometimes in the space of a single film. He began his career with the BBC, before directing Dave Clark Five vehicle Catch Us If You Can. Hollywood beckoned and his Lee Marvin movies Point Blank and Hell in the Pacific won him admirers.

From then on the quality was variable: the obscure Leo the Last, the harrowing megahit Deliverance, the ridiculous Zardoz, the reviled Exorcist II, Arthurian adaptation Excalibur, The Emerald Forest, Where the Heart Is, The General and underrated spy drama The Tailor of Panama. Was once involved with an aborted attempt to film The Lord of the Rings.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
   

 

Last Updated: