Thursday, January 28, 2016

Start the Revolution Without Me (1970)

Director: Bud Yorkin

Writers: Fred Freeman, Lawrence J. Cohen

Composer: John Addison

Starring: Gene Wilder, Donald Sutherland, Hugh Griffith, Jack MacGowran, Billie Whitelaw, Victor Spinetti, Ewa Aulin, Helen Fraser, Rosalind Knight, Harry Fowler, Murray Melvin, Ken Parry, Maxwell Shaw, Orson Welles

More info: IMDb

Plot: Two mismatched sets of identical twins - one aristocrat, one peasant - mistakenly exchange identities on the eve of the French Revolution.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

I LOVE Gene Wilder. He's one of the funniest screen comedians ever.  Bud Yorkin's picture is funny from the start and I thought I was in for a treat but the jokes couldn't be sustained for 90 minutes...but they tried.  If there's anything negative to say then that's it.  Having Orson Welles introduce the picture by saying he wasn't in it was brilliant.  The cast is great.  John Addison brings the period funny in the music but a couple of the themes get used far too often.  The gags that worked for me were great but not everything landed.  They had a bit where the name and year of the location would be on the screen when going to a new place.  Except for the first one everything else is in 1789 and they kept repeating it as if there's going to be a payoff but there isn't.  That got old, too.  It's not the laugh fest that I wanted but it's a beautifully shot film and there's a great sense of time and place.  It's one of those pictures where it looks like every dime spent is there on the screen.  The Warner Bros. DVD sports a gorgeous anamorphic widescreen print.  With the disc you get two extras, the theatrical trailer in anamorphic widescreen and a commentary track with Yorkin, Wilder and Sutherland.  I listened to the first half hour of it and it's very informative and interesting.  Recommended.

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