A new commanding officer arrives at a remote castle serving as an insane asylum for mentally ill and A.W.O.L. U.S. soldiers where he attempts to rehabilitate them by allowing them to live out their crazy fantasies while combatting his own long-suppressed insanity.Written by
Joe Spinell's character of "Spinell", a patient at the castle-hospital, was not in the novel nor the original script. Spinell had begged Writer and Director William Peter Blatty, a close friend of his, to cast him in a small role as the sidekick to Jason Miller's character of Lieutenant Reno. Since there was no part for Spinell in the movie, his character was given the same last name. Nearly all of Spinell's dialogue was ad-libbed. See more »
There are five different versions of this film, with various running times from 99 up to 140 minutes. Director William Peter Blatty disowned all versions except one: his approved cut runs 118 minutes and is the version that was originally released theatrically in the USA. This version is available on DVD. See more »
New psychiatrist takes over an asylum for disturbed military men.
A brilliant and unconventional film. As I'm sure many others have said it is very difficult to describe or sum up accurately. It has so many seemingly incongruous elements yet amazingly in the end it ties them all together and packs an emotional punch very few films manage.
Basically it's about how a new lead psychiatrist arrives at an asylum maintained by the military. It is loaded with stunning scenes, images, symbolism, scares and emotionally devastating moments and it leaves me both uplifted and sad yet so intellectually stimulated I want to discuss it because there is a LOT to talk about once it's over.
It also has some brutal violence and the nastiest bar fight ever filmed.
Stacey Keach plays the role of Kane perfectly, he shows no outward humor but is not humorless himself. He is clearly dedicated to helping the inmates in any way he can using every means at his disposal and wisely the character is not played as being detached and totally unemotional. When Kane (Keach) gets annoyed, enthusiastic or is dealing with a difficult issue he doesn't simply deadpan it he communicates what is happening within the character despite the constraints needed for the role. Brilliant work.
Where his treatments lead the inmates (and where it leads Kane himself) is the core of the film and the whole thing is actually about all of us and how we can reconcile faith, science and the horrors of existence. Faith can mean many different things...
There are multiple edits available but the major aspect that changes is related to one brief scene involving a knife and a bit a dialog. It's worth mentioning because it does change the tone for many viewers depending on the version they see.
The Ninth Configuration is a treasure, a sadly overlooked and misunderstood film.
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