Prince Leo, last in the line of rulers of a long-deposed monarchy on continental Europe and jaded with the frenetic search for kicks with the European jet-set, returns to his father’s London town house for rest. With him are social-climber Margaret, to whom he is engaged, and Laszlo, who is planning a counter revolution which will restore Leo to the kingship of the monarchy. Leo is shocked to discover the one exclusive neighborhood has degenerated into a ghetto inhabited mainly by poor blacks on the brink of desperation. His nearest neighbors are the Mardi family and their beautiful daughter, Salambo, who catches his eye as does her boy friend the procurer Roscoe. Using the excuse of watching birds he watches them closely through field glasses with the coolness and detachment of a scientist watching insects under a magnifying glass. When Salambo is forced to become a whore in order to keep her family together, Leo, despite the pleadings of Margaret and Laszlo who has just about finished the steps toward the restoration, does something of which he always though himself incapable. –IMDb
Boorman was born in Shepperton, Surrey, England, the son of Ivy (née Chapman) and George Boorman. He was educated at the Salesian School in Chertsey, Surrey, even though his family was not Roman Catholic.
Boorman first began by working as a drycleaner and journalist in the late 1950s and then he moved into TV documentary filmmaking, eventually becoming the head of the BBC’s Bristol-based Documentary Unit in 1962.
Capturing the interest of producer David Deutsch, he was offered the chance to direct a film aimed at repeating the success of A Hard Day’s Night (directed by Richard Lester in 1964): Catch Us If You Can (1965) is about competing pop group Dave Clark Five. While not as successful commercially as Lester’s film, it smoothed Boorman’s way into the film industry. Boorman was drawn to Hollywood for the opportunity to make larger-scale cinema and in Point Blank (1967), a powerful interpretation of a Richard Stark novel, brought a stranger’s vision… read more
Strangely sweet AND trippy. Mastroianni proves again why he worked with all the best directors of his generation: He's a fantastic, physical actor with the pathos of a silent comedian. Recommended to fans of Boorman's experimental stuff from this period, as well as Marco Ferreri's films w/ Mastroianni, Chaplin, Ashby's LANDLORD & BEING THERE, as well as REAR WINDOW for the voyeurism.
Boorman's most experimental work; a jarring and dissonant combination of grotesque Fellini-like caricature, Beckett inspired psychological study and outlandish Czech new wave influenced social satire. The stylisation of the film - including the strict black and white production design and the fractured commentary of the soundtrack - leaves a lasting impression, but also suggests the perspective of Leo's potentially damaged mind.
Mastroianni is great and the film is really well put together...it says a lot about isolation, decaying class systems as well as plain old fashioned mental illness
Occasionally interesting curio which, before tapering off into heavy-handed parable, reveals its early narrative progression in pealed layers of overlapping sound and visuals creating a somewhat kinetic sensation. Alas the lumpy descent midway into hyperbole over boils a potentially fascinating curate’s egg. However it’s worth a glance alongside other early 1970s experiments along the commercial edges of film.