Monday, June 6, 2016

Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966)

British Cinema sure did love their the Byronic heroes of the kitchen sink set. You can see these angry young(ish) men give dirty looks at an England gone to seed in films like Look Back in Anger (1959),  Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), to name a few. 

The director of the latter, Karel Reisz, brings us a more explicitly political cad, the titular Morgan, played by David Warner. As typical with this type of movie, he's involved with a more "proper" sort of lady (Vanessa Redgrave), who wants nothing more than to settle down, in this case by divorcing the eccentric, animal-loving loving Morgan and marrying a posh art-dealer (Robert Stephens).

Being the movie's protagonist, Morgan thinks he can win back his ex-wife. Thankfully, despite his efforts, which run the gamut from vandalism to kidnapping, it doesn't work. SPOILERS: She gets married anyway, and he ends up in a mental institution.

But because this IS a comedy (sort of), she takes his continual intrusions in stride (mostly). For you see, as a representative of the upper class, Redgrave's character, Leonie, is both repelled and attracted to the more lively, unpredictable, working-class Morgan. She does care for him, but just can't stand living with him anymore, and no amount of fence-climbing or gorilla suit-wearing can change that. 

I liked the film, though 80% of that opinion I owe to Warner and Redgrave's stellar performances. A year earlier, the former appeared as a rebellious and ironic Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company; the performance was never recorded, but one can see glimmers of the Danish Prince's wit, snark, and energy here.

No comments:

Post a Comment