I Saw A Film!

Half expecting a battlefield war film (my initial reference for Foxtrot was military radio talk for F), I was mildly surprised to realize it was more of a “stranded on a desert isle” sort of film but, wrapped around fleeing the middle of Europe during WWII. Which, I’d have to say sounded like a great idea. Henry Miller spent his time in Greece, and lots of other folks simply removed themselves from the abominable plight if they could, especially those who had experienced the previous calamity.

We have Peter O’Toole who is only in his mid 40s here (how did that fellow manage to look so aged his entire career?) and Max Von Sydow (the knight who tries to cheat death in the old Seventh Seal movie) as a close companion along with Charlotte Rampling (from Zardoz) as the royal wife. It isn’t long before we’re let in on the fact that O’Toole’s character is off kilter (as many wealthy twits are) and is afflicted with the death of a previous love of his life who he keeps seeing in uncomfortable moments walking beaches and looking toward him with withering accusation. Nevermind, we’re told he’s not responsible for her death by the good friend Sydow. Rampling, for her part, is about fed up with O’toole’s constant distance and begins a bit of a flirtation with a servant. So good so far.

Eventually some wealthy pals arrive on the island, throw a party, use up all all the supplies and then go off and kill all the wildlife in that old “grand” style of hunting wealthy people used to conduct which basically meant shoot everything that moved. Living things are no more than targets. And so we have a difficult situation. Once the guests split, there’s naught much left for the remaining folks to do, there being only one severe-looking lady and three lads. There’s one sexy moment when Max rolls a cigar on Charlotte’s thigh, saying that the best ones were always rolled on a lady’s thigh. What a neat flirty idea. Of course it causes some consternation, even if the royal ass isn’t particularly interested in his woman anymore.

Soon enough a rifle is produced and the film becomes inadvertently comic. In the same manner Shakespeare’s tragedies can sometimes cause fits of giggles as the bodies pile up.

I still think a camping trip far away from war is a good idea, and I’m sure my friends and I could withstand flirty advances without resorting to weaponry. But perhaps the lesson here resides in the spoiled aristocracy’s expectations of obsequiousness even in the face of end-of-the-world equity. Go fishing you dopes!

This runs free on prime (usa), and I’m probably missing some deeper message of the importance of the war bringing about the final days of imperial rule. The poster implies a bit more hedonism than the film actually supplies (which will surprise no one) but I did enjoy that music and a hand-crank Victrola style record player and a selection of records were important to our castaways. Who doesn’t enjoy a good desert island record collection list? I promise mine won’t be all Manchester punks (Too many Fall records anyway).

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