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Alain Resnais, 1977
France/Switzerland/UK | 110 minutes
Alec Guinness once aptly likened his fellow actor John Gielgud’s voice to the sound of “a silver trumpet muffled in silk.” Gielgud’s extraordinary instrument is heard throughout Alain Resnais’ first English-language production. English playwright David Mercer’s script is set for most of its duration within the feverish mind of a dying novelist (played by Gielgud) during a sleepless night, as he compulsively conjures a labyrinthine narrative in which the same five people (played by Dirk Bogarde, Ellen Burstyn, David Warner, Elaine Stritch and Denis Lawson) are cast and recast. Resnais’ opulent, handsome film, with a lush romantic score by Miklós Rósza, has been long overdue for a restoration – it’s a feast for the eye and the ear. DCP courtesy of Jupiter Films.