Based on Henri Charrière's bestselling epic about life imprisonment in a French penal colony, Papillon begins atmospherically with the heat and deprivation well conveyed. But with Schaffner unable to find the necessary perspective to prevent the film from becoming unevenly episodic, it ends up looking as if it were tacked together by at least three different directors. Jerry Goldsmith's insistent music doesn't help much either. Consequently McQueen's escape bids and subsequent doses of solitary take on the proportions of a masochist's marathon. He battles manfully against miscasting and a script that remains content merely to celebrate his prowess. He almost carries it off, apart from one romantic dalliance, true Hollywood South Seas style, and the totally perfunctory final half-hour.