HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Tales from the Hood
Radio Parade of 1935
Dead
Death at Broadcasting House
Huracan
Ghost Strata
Call to Spy, A
Tailgate
Other Lamb, The
Every Time I Die
Lynn + Lucy
Topsy-Turvy
Honest Thief
Blood and Money
Rose: A Love Story
Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
Om Dar-B-Dar
Silencing, The
J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and the Church of SubGenius
Dick Johnson is Dead
Two/One
Cognition
Legacy of Lies
I Am Woman
Alien Addiction
Dare, The
South Terminal
Little Monsters
Yield to the Night
My Zoe
Young Playthings
End of Summer
Times of Harvey Milk, The
Buddies
Threshold
Perfectly Normal Family, A
Ravage
Honeymoon Phase, The
One Summer
Bird Island
   
 
Newest Articles
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
   
 
  Justine Forget The Quartet
Year: 1969
Director: George Cukor, Joseph Strick
Stars: Anouk Aimée, Dirk Bogarde, Robert Forster, Anna Karina, Philippe Noiret, Michael York, John Vernon, Jack Albertson, Cliff Gorman, George Baker, Elaine Church, Michael Constantine, Marcel Dalio, Michael Dunn, Barry Morse, Severn Darden, Abraham Sofaer
Genre: Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Alexandria in the late nineteen-thirties, and English schoolteacher and sometime poet Darley (Michael York) has moved there to broaden his horizons. One night he is in bed when he hears a commotion outside the window of the pokey room he is living in and can't resist looking to see what is going on, whereupon he catches sight of a belly dancer, Melissa (Anna Karina), who has fled the nightclub she works at after being poisoned with so-called Spanish Fly by a table of American sailors. Darley takes her inside and helps her recover, in the process forging a close friendship which blossoms into a casual romance; that is until a British consul of his acquaintance, Pursewarden (Dirk Bogarde), introduces him to someone...

That someone being the mysterious beauty Justine, played by Anouk Aimée in one of her attempts at breaking out internationally in English language movies which seemed doomed to failure when the public were uninterested in the results. They were particularly uninterested in this adaptation of what had been a bestselling series of novels in the fifties penned by Lawrence Durrell, an unusual case of works verging on the experimental gathering mainstream success, so naturally where there's a hit in the literary world someone often wishes to translate the page to the screen, and so it was with this. Taking its title from the first in the Alexandria Quartet, and not to be confused with anything from the Marquis de Sade, this was a disaster.

In its endeavours to cram in all the nuance of four books into one two hour movie, the filmmakers made their plot alight upon various bits and pieces of the source, but never put across the sense of a narrative flowing easily from one point to the next. Even when it begins, we feel as if there has been something important we have not been told, never mind shown, and with its conspiracies centred on gun running to the Jews in Palestine at the expense of the British, with a dollop of cross-religious feuding into the bargain, when we were asked to care more about Justine and her habit of wrapping men around her little finger, the disparity between these was never going to make for anything but a bumpy ride into confusion - both yours and theirs - and eventual indifference.

Behind the scenes, this was one of those films which must have made the participants wonder why they ever bothered with shooting movies; at least with authoring books the characters were easier to handle and direct. Joseph Strick was the man at the helm, or at least he was when the much delayed filming process began, but he was at loggerheads with many on the production and was asked to leave after capturing a lot of location footage. Veteran George Cukor was brought in to salvage the work, and promptly took everyone away from the Tunisian locations to Hollywood, where Alexandria was recreated unconvincingly on the sets, though even then the disgruntlement was in the air, with Cukor and Aimée both reported to not be getting on too well, to put it mildly.

And when it was finally released, Justine was laughed off the screen by the critics and cognoscenti, while roundly ignored by customers. No matter how much they tried to push the envelope as far as getting away with stuff on screen went, the fact remained this was a resolutely old-fashioned effort, so sure, you could have Aimée frolicking nude in the sea or Dirk Bogarde playfully admitting to being homosexual, but the feeling that they were all slightly abashed at having to depict such things never left it, and the instances of child prostitution, transvestism and incest, not to mention the lead female character sleeping around to get her way, were all illustrated much the same and with much the same goal, to wink at the audience that this was very grown up. It might have felt that way at the time, but now comes across as coy and stodgy, and though there were selected bits where something approaching a decent performance appeared (usually from Bogarde or Karina), everything else was a joyless and leaden test of endurance. Music by Jerry Goldsmith.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1471 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
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 star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: