The Prisoner

The pieces on a chessboard are evenly matched. One side moves first.

The cardinal is a whoreson fishmonger in his earliest recollection, mental torture reduces him to this. The torturer mistakes humility, Baudelaire’s “most difficult of all virtues,” for a flaw.

Glenville lays the basis for an articulateness in cruelty that is his distinctive trademark, it serves him excellently well amid the greater complexities of Summer and Smoke, still more the sunny darkness of The Comedians.

Frankenheimer’s The Fixer is an Old Testament variant, Birdman of Alcatraz an absolute position.


Me and the Colonel

Glenville’s analysis in Term of Trial, where the central romantic event is accompanied by lightning, as here, clarifies many obscurities.

“It’s a dream I dream. It’s a dream!

“I, the only son of Reba Jacobowsky, lost far from home, headed for destruction, with Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, in Rothschild’s Rolls-Royce.

“It’s a dream. It’s a dream!”


Summer and Smoke

The world and the soul, answering Crowther’s confusion. Dr. Buchanan (Laurence Harvey) is lost in the one and balked by the other, Miss Alma (Geraldine Page) quite the reverse.

The two in the last measure of consideration are isolated as a gang of Spaniards carousing rather mindlessly, and a ladies’ cultural society hearing a recital of one member’s latest historical romance.

Critical sensibilities could not but be offended both ways, and preferred to block the whole thing out.

The rapprochement and interchange is effected by Williams, this redounds to the sanity, humanity, and urbanity of the place.


Term of Trial

The joke, which Bosley Crowther neither liked nor approved of, so immersed was he in the vivid reality of the representation, is that nice guys finish last and the last shall be first.

This is one of the great, supernal jokes in the cinema. It has one of the finest techniques in Britain delivering it, and the very best cast to savor it, on an easy basis of Richard Brooks’ The Blackboard Jungle.



Under a very long Occupation, the supreme collaborator turns his coat and dies a Christian saint.

The pungency of Henry’s feeling about his little Saxon is a very fine observation tinged with gall.

For Glenville this is a stately theme, perhaps his one and only, it runs throughout his films from first to last.

Becket’s appeal to Rome takes a small boat across the Channel to King Louis, who conducts a chess game with the English in absentia, and finally to the Pope who wants no troublemakers.

If critical functions were lacking to receive it, Glenville’s film has proven to be very influential with many other directors right down to Costa-Gavras’ Amen., because the analysis provided by Anouilh and Anhalt is generally obscured in the minds of reviewers by Glenville’s magnificent staging.


The Comedians

The facts of the matter are conveyed in a sort of apparatus applied to Hawks (To Have and Have Not) and Curtiz (Casablanca). This has not been noticed, and audiences are said to have been confused by the title.

Very many jokes farce the structure, and other things as well. A rich entertainment on a sordid theme, that was the end of Glenville’s film career.