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Zardoz (1974)

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director John Boorman Rating:7.9/10 (9 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr on November 30th, 2008:Find all reviews by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr
Unlike on his DELIVERANCE commentary, Boorman struggles to keep talking about what, he concedes, is "an indulgent and personal film", leading to many silences and an overall disjointed feel to the track. One of these personal aspects is that it was filmed near Boorman's home in Wicklow, Ireland, which while contributing some beautiful scenery also caused a few problems, firstly the difficulty in finding Irish girls willing to go topless in the early seventies (meaning it's easy now? Let's go, guys!) and also during the final shoot-out when they had trouble importing guns in case they fell into the hands of the IRA (eventually resolved but not before one of the crew offered to use his own IRA connections to procure some weapons!).
As expected, when Boorman does find something to say it's always interesting, such as when he (proudly) relates how all the effects were done in camera, largely out of necessity, highlighting the main problem with the film, that it was simply "too ambitious for the budget".
Boorman also makes a valiant effort to explain the film's themes (something he tried to do at the time, we learn, by tacking on that opening monologue after early screenings left audiences baffled), freely admitting "a lot of this can be laughable if you don't enter into the spirit" and concluding "when I look back at the film now I'm astonished at my hubris".
There are a few amusing stories too, such as the tale of the critic on a French communist newspaper keen to give a positive review but first demanding a written assurance that the mask worn by Zed wasn't modelled on Lenin ( who it actually was modelled on is even more of a surprise), and the problems encountered (re-)filming the rapid-aging finale which so infuriated Connery and led to one of the crew fleeing the country!
So it's certainly worth a listen, but just as ZARDOZ was a huge disappointment after DELIVERANCE so it is with their respective commentaries.