The Comedians (1967)

The Comedians Poster

American and British tourists get caught up in political unrest in Haiti.

Film Overview
"The Comedians" is a 1967 political drama launched by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film is based on the book of the same name by Graham Greene, who likewise wrote the screenplay. It was directed by Peter Glenville and starred prominent actors like Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Alec Guinness, and Peter Ustinov. The plot is embeded in the political turbulence of Haiti during the dictatorial reign of Fran├žois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his ruthless secret police, the Tontons Macoutes.

Plot Summary
Richard Burton plays the main character 'Brown', a disillusioned and financially struggling hotelier caught in the politically unsteady Haiti. Brown's hotel, once glamorous and flourishing, is now bristling with cobwebs and vacant spaces, reflecting Haiti's grim political and financial status. Brown is associated with a love affair with Martha (played by Elizabeth Taylor), the German ambassador's better half, who remains in a loveless marriage.

On a ship to Port-au-Prince, Brown encounters an eclectic mix of individuals-- Smith, an ignorant American governmental candidate who has embarked on a 'vegetarian mission' with his partner (played by Alec Guinness and Lillian Gish), and the suspiciously affable European arms trader Pineda (played by Peter Ustinov).

Upon reaching Haiti, Smith and his better half are stunned to witness the ruthless rule of the Tonton Macoute. Their preliminary plans to establish a vegetarian center are thwarted when they face the plain realities of the despotic program's human rights abuses. Smith then transitions into a politically active individual, sympathizing with the rebels who are preparing an insurrection.

Character Arcs and Conflict
Brown is torn between his love for Martha and his requirement to sell the hotel to move on with his life. The intricacy of Brown's character deepens as he faces moral dilemmas. Brown wishes to believe in a much better future for Haiti that the Smiths imagine however is skeptical of their motivations and indicates to accomplish their objective. Pineda, on the other hand, manipulates the disorderly situation to his advantage, trying to sell arms in your area amidst the brewing disobedience and worldwide stress.

Conclusion
The film culminates with tension intensifying as Brown, in spite of his cynicism, finds himself entangled with the rebel forces. The approaching hazard of the secret authorities's violent and unforeseeable actions results in an intense climax. Yet amidst this turmoil of rebellion and violence, "The Comedians" handles to keep a grim humor relevant to its title.

Reception
With an elaborate and politically charged plot, 'The Comedians' gotten combined reviews from critics. Some praised the strong performances, especially that of Richard Burton. Nevertheless, others felt the film was strained with too much dialogue, watering down the intensity and excitement of the original book.

In spite of its review, "The Comedians" is a significant political drama that presents an piercing commentary on the struggling past of Haiti. Its exploration of political idealism, ethical intricacy, and the human battle for dignity and flexibility make the film a poignant classic in political movie theater. Additionally, the star-studded lineup adds Hollywood glamour to this socio-political story.

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