Two criminals on the run make their way to an 11th century castle where a couple (Roman Polanski, Françoise Dorléac) lives and decide to stay there while waiting for help to arrive. A quaint little comedy from director Polanski, a humorous hostage drama set in a cul-de-sac, a castle cut off from the world when the tide is in. It’s not a complex story in any way; the characters and the actors are the main attraction. Lionel Stander and Donald Pleasance are outstanding as the gravel-voiced, uncouth bad guy and his decadent, wealthy and effeminate victim. Polanski keeps things tense and interesting throughout, creating a little universe of his own.
1966-Britain. 111 min. B/W. Produced by Gene Gutowski, Michael Klinger, Tony Tenser. Directed by Roman Polanski. Screenplay: Roman Polanski, Gerard Brach. Cinematography: Gilbert Taylor. Music: Christopher Komeda. Cast: Donald Pleasence (George), Françoise Dorléac (Teresa), Lionel Stander (Richard), Jack MacGowran, Iain Quarrier, Jacqueline Bisset.
Berlin: Golden Berlin Bear.
Last word: “I think that was Polanski’s best picture. We were very creative together and although we had fights, a lot of the scenes were improvised on the spot.” (Pleasence, The Los Angeles Times)