"Underneath the zany gorilla suit, the automotive hijinks and the wacky pratfalls, this is at heart a love story about a rich society girl who can't help loving a penniless artist from the wrong side of the tracks. I fell in love with this movie when it first came out, and revisiting it nearly 40 years later is like heaven. The black & white print here is flawless, and the fantasy scenes mixing Tarzan footage, period nature films and Morgan's reveries are clever beyond their time. Jazz legend Johnny Dankworth provides an unusual soundtrack of woodwinds in a very Guiffresque style which has worn the years well. The movie contains several of the most memorable scenes ever committed to film, and the artful blending of fantasy and reality leads to an ending which is completely open to interpretation.The heart wants what the heart wants. This is a very life-positive movie."
A Suitable Case for Laughter
Gary W. McClintock | Clive, IA USA | 12/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here's one I've been trying desperately to find again for the last 20 years. This is the film that makes me watch silly things like "Titanic" and "Nightwing" just to watch David Warner. The first hour on the whole ranks with the best British comedies of its time (Hard Day's Night, The Jokers, Nothing But The Best) but the seriocomic ending (with a superb closing laugh) leaves me as unsettled as Reisz's Saturday Night,Sunday Morning. Vanessa Redgrave plays Leonie, the sweet ex-wife who, though she clearly loves Morgan and his antics, is pressed into being a femme fatale by the social order (she's the rich one). David Warner is the eccentric failed artist, Morgan, who wishes he had been born to a gorilla rather than to a communist (he's the poor one). Yet Morgan is desperate to get his wife back (after having visited a zoo gorilla about his psychological problems). Irene Handl as Morgan's devoutly communist mother (she's unhappy Morgan has betrayed the working class) is a hilarious take on a mother complaining at her son's failures. It isn't a perfect film. It is nevertheless a real delight. The picture quality on the DVD is good for the price. Only special feature is the trailer, but it is a real swinging London statement in its own right."
jim yoakum | USA | 01/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Morgan: A Suitable Case For Treatment (to give its full title) is one of those that got away. A premium slice of British satire served up wickedly frsh and tasty. Not a bad performance in it, and worth the price of admission for the ending alone."
Poignant, Unique Film
K. Boullosa | 05/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having read both the praise and criticisms below of Karel Reisz's 1966 tender paean to nonconformity, this reviewer feels that both sides have valid arguments. This is one of those films that one either loves for its insanity, or hates for the same reason. I suspect that which side individual viewers end up on has more to do with who the viewer is (or, more likely, once was), than with the film's actual merits or lack thereof.
"Morgan!" positively reeks of its era, not just with its "look" but with its style of cheeky wit and obvious biases. The script shamelessly stacks the deck by making the representatives of normalcy unappealing. There is no doubt as to where the sympathies of Czech director Reisz (who also directed the iconoclastic "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning") or scriptwriter David Mercer lie.
Nevertheless, for this reviewer the film, seen only once years before on a very rare cable run, retains much of its defiant charm. At the very least, the film is worth viewing for the work of its two stars: an incandescent young Vanessa Redgrave, beginning to reveal the magnitude of her gifts, and David Warner's poignant, irresistible, and unforgettable Morgan. Possibly one of Warner's compatriots at the time (Alan Bates comes to mind, thinking of his performance in "Georgie Girl" with Redgrave's sister, Lynn) could have done an equally sympathetic job, but it is difficult to imagine anyone but Warner moving one to tears as he murmurs with his happy, crooked smile, "I've gone all furry. . ." That said, the play had previously appeared on BBC Television, with Keith Barron in the title role - a performance that appears to have faded into obscurity after the film premiered. I cannot find a review of it.
Redgrave has been a mature stateswoman of theater and screen for so long that one can forget how beautiful she was when young - the chiseled bones, gorgeous skin, flashing blue eyes, and long, flyaway limbs scream the natural aristocracy that makes her deep but conflicted love for her Marxist-fantasist ex-husband all the more touching.
Morgan Delt (David Warner) is that ex-husband, a working-class artist obsessed with the nobility of our primate cousins and Karl Marx, thanks to his upbringing by his staunch Marxist mother. Mrs. Delt is played by Irene Handl with a perfect blend of stolidity and quixoticism that nearly steals every scene she is in. Morgan has just been divorced by his well-born society wife, Leonie (Redgrave). Leonie, in the grand tradition of eccentricity that Britain's upper-classes used to breed, is almost as loony as Morgan but "almost" is the operative word, on one side of an abyss that Leonie cannot cross. She still loves Morgan, but cannot cope with his refusal to make even minimal accommodation to the "normal" world. Leonie, in the unenviable position of dual-natured persons, shares Morgan's contempt for the "normal" yet longs for a more stable family life. In search of that life, Leonie has become engaged to Morgan's friend and art dealer, the normal but unctuous Charles Napier (Robert Stephens). Napier's bourgeouis normalcy is the reason he doesn't have Leonie's heart, although he seems neither to know nor care - her social standing, money, and good looks are all he requires. Nevertheless, Leonie is determined to marry Napier so she can have the kind of home in which, as Napier acidly puts it, "The function of the nursery is to be occupied by the children, not the parents."
Morgan is equally determined to stop Leonie from marrying Napier and betraying art, the revolution, and what he knows is their true love. As Morgan does everything he can to wreck Leonie's wedding plans and win her back, he takes the viewer on a sometimes rollicking, sometimes painful journey through his psyche. The accomplishment of the film and its stars is to make the viewer understand both Leonie's wish for a normal family life AND her intense response to Morgan's enchanting but maddeningly inconvenient authenticity. How far one's sympathies go in either direction is probably a reliable indicator of how much one will appreciate this unique film.
Redgrave picked up a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role as Leonie, and won the Palme d'Or for it at Cannes that year. The film was also nominated for Best Costume Design in a Black-and-White film. The equally cheeky score is by John Dankworth, who also contributed the subtle but sad score to "Darling", another classic British film from this same era.
Redgrave, of course, went on to a hugely distinguished career. Warner, however, who started out as a promising stage and Shakesperean actor, had a disappointingly checkered film career, shunted off into repetitive "villain" roles such as Jack the Ripper in "Time Afer Time". In 2005, his stage career experienced something of a renaissance with a highly-praised performance of King Lear. Regardless of the uneven quality of the films he has played in, Warner has never been less than interesting to watch, but surely he was never more so than in "Morgan!".
The bittersweet ironies of "Morgan!" are not for everyone. The film has a definite point of view to which it is openly and passionately committed. For those of you who wish you'd been there for the 1960s, or who were there for the 1960s and miss them, or have a ghost of the counterculture rebel still breathing inside, this film is worth your time and effort."
Morgan - A Suitable Case for Treatment
John Farr | 06/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Redgrave made her film debut in this wildly inventive black comedy by Czech director Reisz. Her magnetic performance as Leonie-continually torn between her more conventional side and the unhinged part of her nature - netted her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. "Morgan!"'s exuberant pacing and anarchic spirit make it one of the swinging sixties' most delightfully loony cult films. Also, Warner is terrific in the lead."