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The Comedians (1967)

Approved | | Drama | 31 October 1967 (USA)
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A cynical Welsh hotel owner secretly romances a diplomat's wife in Haiti, under the violent reign of the despot "Papa Doc" Duvalier.

Director:

Peter Glenville

Writers:

Graham Greene (novel), Graham Greene (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Burton ... Brown
Elizabeth Taylor ... Martha Pineda
Alec Guinness ... Major H. O. Jones
Peter Ustinov ... Ambassador Manuel Pineda
Paul Ford ... Smith
Lillian Gish ... Mrs. Smith
Georg Stanford Brown ... Henri Philipot
Roscoe Lee Browne ... Petit Pierre
Gloria Foster ... Mrs. Philipot
James Earl Jones ... Dr. Magiot
Zakes Mokae ... Michel
Douta Seck Douta Seck ... Joseph
Raymond St. Jacques ... Captain Concasseur
Cicely Tyson ... Marie Therese
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Storyline

Set in the Haiti of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, this movie tells the story of a sardonic Welsh hotel owner and his encroaching fatalism as he watches Haiti sink into barbarism and poverty. Complications include his inability to sell the hotel so he can leave, a friendship with a rebel leader, some politically "charged" hotel guests, an affair with the German-born wife of a South American ambassador, and the manipulations of a British arms dealer who's in over his head. Written by Max Chandler <netropic@speakeasy.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They lie, they cheat, they destroy...they even try to love.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Bermuda | USA

Language:

English | French | Haitian | Spanish

Release Date:

31 October 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los comediantes See more »

Filming Locations:

Benin See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several critics noted that the ending of this movie is at least a little more positive and optimistic than the bleak ending of Graham Greene's original novel, and attacked the movie for "softening" the subject. Graham Greene, however, insisted that the more upbeat ending had been his own idea. See more »

Goofs

In the last few shots in the movie, as the Character is leaving the airport, there is initially a departing Vickers VC10 airliner flying overhead from right to left, this changes to a close up, followed by a shot of the same airliner now flying into the distance - unfortunately this is different 4 engine Jetliner, probably a Boeing 707. See more »

Quotes

Petit Pierre: [to Brown] They are waiting for Major Jones. For some reason they believe that only white men are experts in killing.
See more »

Connections

References The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

 
chilling depiction of Haiti
8 April 2014 | by rupieSee all my reviews

I saw this movie many years ago and it left me cold. When it came up again on cable, the combination of the stellar cast - Alec Guinness, Richard Burton, Peter Ustinov, Peter Ford, Lillian Gish, James Earl Jones, Liz Taylor - and a script based on a Graham Greene novel, prompted me to give it a second look. Maybe because I'm a lot older now I can appreciate its many qualities. Graham Greene's cynical, post-Catholic sensibility is clearly in evidence here. The production qualities are high, and the story line is engaging. The portrayal of the misery of Haiti and the terror of the Duvalier government with its tontons macoutes secret police, is chilling. It is still true today that if you look up "Third World Hell Hole" in your Funk & Wagnalls, there will be a picture of Haiti. The characters are well-drawn. Burton's character, Brown - who seems to be missing a first name - is a sardonic, cynical and jaded hotel owner who puts one in mind of Rick in Casablanca. His character transformation, involving the shedding of his cynicism, is very effectively portrayed. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Ford / Gish) might have been portrayed to be the slightly silly and naive characters they appear to be, but in the end they demonstrate a touching bravery and idealism. The weak spot here is Elizabeth Taylor's Martha Pineda. Her attempt, as an ambassador's European wife, at an accent is simply ridiculous, ranging from French (sorta), to British, to German (kinda) depending on the scene. In addition, the film makers decided that extra dollops of Rich and Liz's lovemaking scenes would be an added draw; not a good idea, as they slow down the action and force us to endure listening to Taylor. It's a long movie but it keeps us going to its tragic finale.


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