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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

PRISONER OF HONOR (1991)

This umpteenth dramatization of the infamous Dreyfus Affair purposefully avoids the obvious dramatic moments, but can’t figure out what to substitute. That mad megger Ken Russell is, alas, largely held in check (there’s one great edit straight from a jail cell to a mistress’s naked tummy) and lets his fine British cast chew a lot of scenery (Oliver Reed, Jeremy Kemp, Brian Blessed & director Lindsay Anderson in a scene stealing acting turn), but the script’s odd narrative lacunae defeat him. Richard Dreyfuss, as the sole upstanding French officer spouts various accents from all over the U.K. when he’s not playing Mahler symphonies on wax cylinders. Where’d he ever find them in the 1890s?

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