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Cul-De-Sac (1966)

Cul-de-sac (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Thriller | 7 November 1966 (USA)
Two wounded gangsters on the run find refuge in the secluded castle of a feeble man and his wife in search of help, however, under the point of a gun nothing is what it seems.

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Writers:

(original screenplay), (original screenplay) (as Gerard Brach)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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Geoffrey Sumner ...
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Robert Dorning ...
Marie Kean ...
William Franklyn ...
...
Jacqueline (as Jackie Bisset)
Trevor Delaney ...
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Storyline

A wounded criminal and his dying partner take refuge at a beachfront castle. The owners of the castle, a meek Englishman and his willful French wife, are initially the unwilling hosts to the criminals. Quickly, however, the relationships between the criminal, the wife, and the Englishman begin to shift in humorous and bizarre fashion. Written by Sean Taylor <Taylor@org.chem.ethz.ch>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

L'Humour, L'Amour, La Mort. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

7 November 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cul-De-Sac  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Sutro is credited as translator. He was a producer of such films such as Forty Ninth Parallell and The Way Ahead. Michael Powell's autobiography states that the had a lovely French wife. See more »

Goofs

The record with the Cul-de-sac theme that Nicolas scratched is different from the one Teresa later plays and jumps. See more »

Quotes

Nicholas: [after being punished for scratching one of Teresa's records] That Froggy bitch pulled my ear off!
Philip Fairweather: Here, here, here! Who taught you to speak like that?
Nicholas: Mum did!
Philip Fairweather: [slaps the back of Nicholas's hand] That'll teach you to tell lies.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Echelon Down (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent black comedy thriller
6 July 2004 | by See all my reviews

This film is incredible. Polanski's best film behind Knife in the Water and Rosemary's Baby.

The plot revolves around a gangster (Lionel Stander) and his partner that seek refuge in a castle on a small island in England. The couple that inhabit the castle are played by the sublime Donald Pleasance and the beautiful Françoise Dorléac. The movie plays out like a three way triangle of hatred; we have the contempt between the couple and the gangster, who is invading their home; the gangster's mean streak is inflicted on the couple and the lady obviously holds her husband in low regard when he takes on the role of a wimp in front of the gun toting criminal. However, it is not as simple as that as in several points in the movie, the characters let their guard down and start to communicate with each other in an almost friendly way. This is the real beauty of this film; it is a character study, studying the relationship between a couple and a third party in their home. Three is a crowd, and the effects of that true to life phrase are felt by each of the three characters.

The three main players in Cul-De-Sac are fantastic, Lional Stander in particular who was surely born to play his role in this movie. He has the voice and the persona of a not very bright gangster spot on; his comic timing for some of his more obviously funny lines is also noteworthy. Donald Pleasance has never been better than he was here either; his portrayal as the 'lord of the manor' is both believable and intriguing. Last but not least, Françoise Dorléac, in undoubtedly the most overlooked role in the piece, although no less important than the other two, is also on time and believable in her role; making up a perfect cast.

From a relatively simple plot line and few characters, through excellent dialogue, restrained plotting and interesting scenarios, Roman Polanksi has managed to weave a story that is interesting and entertaining. Roman Polanski has a great flair for human relationships in his movies, the best example of this was in his best movie, Knife in the Water, and that element is abundant here too. The scenes in which all three characters are on screen interacting with each other are this movie's finest moments.

Cul-De-Sac is an excellent black comedy thriller that fans of the genre and fans of the excellent Roman Polanski will not want to miss. Recommended viewing


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