Lumet's reverential adaptation of Peter Shaffer's play all but defies sane comment: the sub-Lawrentian pretensions that theatre audiences took so seriously stand revealed in all their Pythonesque absurdity when transposed to the screen. The problem is very basic: theatrical symbolism just isn't the same as filmic realism. Add to this that Burton lacks even a shred of credibility as the psychiatrist, and that Firth's performance - technically faultless - is periodically interrupted by scenes in which the awe-struck camera simply observes him undressed, and you begin to comprehend the film's true wretchedness.

By: TR

Release details

Duration: 137 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Sidney Lumet
Screenwriter: Peter Shaffer
Cast: Richard Burton
Peter Firth
Colin Blakely
Joan Plowright
Harry Andrews
Eileen Atkins
Jenny Agutter
Kate Reid
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