Movie Magazine International

Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment

UK - 1966

Movie Review By Monica Sullivan

From his breakthrough appearance in the 1966 Karel Reisz classic "Morgan: A Suitable Case For Treatment" right on up to the present day, David Warner has specialized in playing strange dudes, each role progressively weirder than the one that preceded it. His body of work provides a feast for fans of offbeat cult films, although we can think of no other actor of his stature who is such a shy enigma offscreen. "Morgan" is a stylish study of an nutty anarchist who does everything in his power to regain his delectable ex-wife's affections, including kidnapping her, trying to blow up her future mother-in-law and harassing her current lover on the job. Clips from "King Kong" and old Tarzan movies reinforce Morgan's ultimate fantasy: to carry off the very sophisticated, very urban Vanessa Redgrave into the jungle where they can be free of society's restraints. Since Morgan's unsympathetic rival Sir Robert Stephens (1931-95) deserves no better fate than to be shoved face first into a wedding cake, Morgan grabs our interest and sympathy from the very first reel.

"Morgan" was a dream role for a young, little-known actor and Warner made the most of it. One of Warner's unique qualities as an actor is to drag the viewer into an assortment of twisted minds, by projecting intense vulnerability and contrasting it with cool, crisp control. Follow-up roles included fat parts in prestige films that were little seen outside of his native Britain and, more typically, a long line of villains and psychos. Watching vintage David Warner performances, you may wonder why such a nutcase is allowed to move undisturbed through civilized society. Warner is definitely not the guy you'd want to meet in a dark alley and audiences can never quite trust him in ordinarily trustworthy professions. David Warner's name on a cast list generally means that you can have fun watching him, if no one else, for even after nearly 35 years onscreen, he's always a fascinating, unpredictable presence.

© 2000 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 7/26/00

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