Peter Sellers turns in a performance that opens at high do and never looks back as a lunatic psychiatrist. He is treating Peter O’Toole, a man who wants to be faithful to his girlfriend (Romy Schneider) but cannot say no to the innumerable women who throw themselves at him. Into the mix comes Woody Allen, who, unsurprisingly, plays a sexual loser.
Woody Allen’s first feature script has all the characteristics of his work to come: the sexual hang-ups, the non-sequitur dialogue, the …ysfunctional relationships, men at the mercy of overpowering women, etc. etc. The film is interesting for that reason, and for the cast (which also includes Capucine, Paula Prentiss and Ursula Andress). But the humour is pretty hoary now, the slapstick very much the sort of 60’s wackiness that wasn’t that funny in the first place. Everyone involved has done much better work, and Sellers’ psychiatrist is far from being his best creation. He comes across as Sellers doing a Woody Allen impression, and with Allen in the film too, that’s redundant.
The film is presented in the original mono only, and the track has aged almost as much as the jokes. The dialogue is clear enough, and is certainly loud enough, but the sound overall is a bit thin. The main problem is the music, where age and distortion are a real problem. The mix on the opening credits does Tom Jones’ voice no favours, and I would be very surprised if you don’t find yourself reaching for the remote to lower the volume and reduce that buzz.
The aspect ratio is 1.66:1 widescreen. Though not a problem for 4:3 televisions, this is a very awkward format for 16:9 ones, and the option taken here is for a non-anamorphic transfer. The image itself is pretty soft, with features turning into featureless blurs in the long shots. The colours are decent, but not terribly bright. There is no grain or edge enhancement, however.
The only extra is the trailer, which seems to be presented in raw form. There’s what looks like a snippet of behind-the-scenes footage, and then the trailer proper kicks in. The menu is basic.
Interesting for who is in it, and for its place in their respective careers. On its own merits, not so much.
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