As it's many years since I read the book I can't recall whether it had the same impression on me as the film, which was to profoundly depress me about the nature of man. The protagonist seems pretty much without redeeming features. He chases women in order to get them into bed, but seems to be basically hostile to them. He has friends in order to sponge off them. His sneering smile just makes me want to slap his face. I suspect however that this was not the intention of the film and we're really supposed to think he's quite a guy. In the context of the times the explicit language and sex scenes exploit a new permissiveness, but fundamentally it's an ugly and sexist depiction of men and women : the men trying to get sex with the minimum of commitment, and the women trying to pin the men down or get their money. It's really dated in this respect. On the plus side, I enjoyed the beautiful female bodies. The Parisian landscape shots also lift the ugliness from time to time.
Tropic of Cancer
Biography / Drama
Tropic of Cancer
Biography / Drama
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Henry is an ex-pat in Paris, cadging drinks and meals and places to sleep, giving advice about women to clueless men, flirting with the wives of acquaintances, burning bridges, and making philosophical observations. In vignettes we see his wife Mona come to Paris and leave immediately when she tastes Henry's vagabond life; he tries teaching English at a school in Dijon, takes the son of a wealthy Indian to a bordello, gets a job as a proofreader at the Herald Tribune, and helps out a pal who's in and out of an asylum and deeply in love with a whore. Can Henry make his own discovery of ecstasy?—
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
March 15, 2023 at 05:46 AM
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Men behaving badly
Director Joseph Strick gets props for even attempting to film Henry Miller's expat manifesto. It's unfortunate that it's simply not very cinematic. Rip Torn is Miller, roaming Paris looking for a meal and sex with pretty much every woman he encounters. The film consists mainly of a series of amusing vignettes involving Miller & cronies. There's a certain amount of naughtiness with most of the interest derived from Torn's narration/reading from Miller's racy prose. Torn is fine and Ellen Burstyn plays his not so tolerant wife. James Callahan is outstanding as the least stable of Torn's friends (engaged to a equally unstable Parisian hooker). Strick & co-writer Betty Botley infuse the film with a lot of oddball characters.
Torn at the Seams
Henry Miller's rousing poetic pornography is brought to the screen in the form of Rip Torn as the controversial author wandering Paris from one situation to the next, either narrating Miller's words over various shots of the famous city, or dealing with, and suffering through, random confrontations with crazy women and even crazier men.
Reminiscent of how Charles Bukowski's life would be attempted years later in BARFLY and FACTOTUM... stream-of-conscious odysseys never settling into one particular melodrama for too long... this film's progressively-racy dialog seems awkward and forced. Some of the side-actors don't fit the (for 1970) groundbreaking template, at times feeling like an X-rated episode of MARY TYLER MOORE.
Torn, although not entirely believable as Miller, is intriguing to watch, and along with a few quick sexy scenes with Ellen Burstyn, solely owns this obscure curio that seems borrowed otherwise.