April 23, 2004

Last Tango in Paris

French dialog without subtitles left me wanting a bit with this movie experience. I first saw Last Tango in Paris 25 years ago at a midnight movie in Wichita, KS. That version had subtitles. However, Movielink gave me a weird R-rated version of the sexy Bertolucci classic that didn't come with subtitles.

The edit is strange too. I've caught some deserved crap on this blog for not researching certain things I've stated. (I hope to have corrected the errors.) But regarding Last Tango in Paris, I was sure that the scene where Brando cusses out his wife's corpse was at the beginning of the movie. 25 years can distort some memories, and I had probably consumed a few brews before I saw it then, but this is what I was expecting. If that's wrong I'm sure someone will tell me. But anyway, this version had that scene late, near the end of the flick. The late placement also does not make sense with the movie's timeline. Brando and his babe's affair had nearly played out at this point -- how long do they leave bodies on display after death in France? I could understand if the scene placement made a difference with the movie rating board.

I will have to find the X version on disk and watch that now. I could still follow much of what was happening even if I couldn't understand the French dialog, which speaks highly of writing and direction. And you know if you've seen the film that when Brando and his paramour are alone, they speak English, as does Marlon when he's with his dead wife. This is the meat of the story -- all the French stuff seems peripheral, except when Brando is getting his bathroom cleaned up. I would really like to know what the woman who is doing the cleaning is saying, and who she is.

The only reason I downloaded this was a half-price sale on Movielink. Ordinarily I wouldn't watch such an artsy film on the computer, but for two bucks I said, what the hell? This is however becoming an increasingly tolerable method of viewing.

Seeing this edit made me realize what an excellent film this is, because of all of what I remembered after this length of time. A couple of scenes I was looking for were missing. And this is certainly some of Brando's finest work. I think it's strange that this came out at about the same time as The Godfather.

Maria is certainly a prophet in this movie though. When Marlon is giving her a bath she tells him that he is getting fat. Boy if only they knew....

Posted by Wayne at April 23, 2004 11:07 AM
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