Karel Reisz

Karel Reisz – Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966)

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From Karel Reisz, the renowned director of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Night Must Fall, Isadora, The Gambler, Who’ll Stop the Rain, The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Sweet Dreams, comes this cult classic starring screen great Vanessa Redgrave (Julia, Mary, Queen of Scots) and legendary character actor David Warner (Cross of Iron, Perfect Friday) in one of his few starring roles. A gorilla-fixated artist with distinctly anarchist tendencies, Morgan (Warner) tries to regain the affections of his divorced wife Leonie (Redgrave) by variously kidnapping her, attempting to blow up her future mother-in-law and attacking her fiancé (Robert Stephens, Sherlock Holmes of Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes). Cut with scenes from King Kong and Tarzan films, Morgan’s depiction of madness, dark humor and vintage performances made it one of the wildest, funniest and most provocative comedies of the ’60s. Nominated for two Oscars: Best Actress in a Leading Role (Redgrave) and Best Costume Design, Black-and-White (Jocelyn Rickards). Read More »

Karel Reisz – Who’ll stop the rain (1978)


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Plot summary from DVD Verdict:
Ray Hicks (Nolte) is an ex-Marine who served in Vietnam first in combat and now as a merchant seaman, which allows him to come and go between Vietnam and the US. This provides him a unique opportunity to smuggle things from Southeast Asia to home, but he’s never done anything like the request from his journalist friend John Converse (Michael Moriarty, in another laid back but outstanding performance): bring 2 kilos of pure heroin from Vietnam and deliver it to his wife at home, and collect a cool 10 grand for his efforts. What seemed an easy way to make some quick cash just as quickly spirals out of control, as John Converse’s wife Marge (Tuesday Weld) is attacked by two thugs (Richard Masur and Ray Sharkey) who want to steal the heroin for themselves and their corrupt cop boss (Anthony Zerbe). Hicks shows up in time to thwart the attack, but now they’re on the run while John returns and is kidnapped to force Hicks’s hand. A mountaintop commune will provide the backdrop for the stunning confrontation. Read More »

Karel Reisz – Night Must Fall (1964)

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Albert Finney stars in this 1964 psychological thriller, as a psychotic killer who murders a woman then becomes the handy man at a local house where his girlfriend works. Once there he proceeds to slowly torment the old lady who owns the house and attempts to seduce her granddaughter. Read More »

Karel Reisz – Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)

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Synopsis
The sights and sounds of industrial Nottingham resonate with a grimy thud as Arthur Seaton works his tedious factory job. Through ale, women and practical jokes, he vents his frustrations against the “establishments” of work and marriage… until his reckless ways lead him to a night that changes his life. Forced to reevaluate his convictions, Arthur must decide exactly what he stands for. Read More »

Karel Reisz – The Gambler (1974)

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“James Caan as a New York college professor? Somehow it works in Karel Reisz’s interesting, mostly forgotten 1974 drama The Gambler. A quintessential ’70s film with its non-innocent protagonist swimming in a sea of sleaze and self-destructing when he should know better, The Gambler is one of cinema’s best depictions of a person’s addiction to gambling. That may seem like an inflated statement, but gambling addiction hasn’t really been a subject of film interest, at least not in the same vein as drugs or alcohol. And yet its milieu is tailor-made for drama, comedy, and tension. With that, The Gambler is a crime movie wrapped in an addiction movie wrapped in an existential void, during which, fittingly, Caan teaches his students about Dostoyevsky, one of our first existentialists (without knowing the word yet) who had a gambling problem himself. He even wrote a semi-autobiographical work about it called (again, fittingly), “The Gambler”. Like Dostoyevsky, Caan’s character, Axel, knows what he’s doing and can even discuss his psychology and madness in an offhand manner (as he does to his class) while still jonesing for his next win or lose. Read More »