How to classify a film that makes you cringe and thrill with equal intensity? Camp? Kitsch? Meta? Charly! Adapted from Daniel Keyes’ haunting novel Flowers for Algernon, wherein a developmentally disabled man becomes superintelligent via experimental surgery, the premise is certainly alluring. But director Ralph Nelson and screenwriter Stirling Silliphant make a multitude of jaw-dropping choices — like a trippy Charly-as-biker/beatnik montage and a sequence in which pre-op Charly chases post-op Charly through a dream maze. Only now released on DVD (it’s certainly not growing any less dated as time goes by), Charly won Robertson a Best Actor Oscar for his grounded portrayal of a man walking through the minefield of newfound awareness — to say nothing of the minefield of unintentionally hilarious contrivances. EXTRAS would have been great (there’s a lot of room for elucidation); too bad there aren’t any.
Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy, Drama; Starring: Claire Bloom, Cliff Robertson, Dick Van Patten, Lilia Skala, Ruth White; Director: Ralph Nelson; Author: Stirling Silliphant; Runtime (in minutes): 103; MPAA Rating: PG; Distributor: CBS/Fox Home Video
Posted March 7 2005 — 12:00 AM EST
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