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TopBilled

IN SEARCH OF GREGORY (1969)

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Has anyone else seen this Julie Christie romance drama? It's rather obscure and only had very limited release in North American when it first came out. Universal seemed to have lost faith in the film, because it bombed with test audiences and the studio didn't publicize it.

Professional critics weren't much nicer. 

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I watched IN SEARCH OF GREGORY earlier today on YouTube. And gave it a score of 9 on the IMDb. Very whimsical and charming. The whole thing rests on Christie's performance. She's in 80% of the scenes. But I felt she really carried the story well.

A lot of the critics missed the point of what producer Joseph Janni was trying to accomplish. I do agree that director Peter Wood was probably not the best choice. Antonioni or Joseph Losey would have brought more visual style to the screen if they had filmed it.

Some blasted the casting of Michael Sarrazin as the leading man, but I didn't have a problem with him. It almost makes the story more amusing if the object of her affection (obsession) is not a super attractive or super mysterious person.

There's some really good comic relief with John Hurt who plays her brother. Such a different, quirky, fun and hopelessly romantic picture. I love it. 

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1 hour ago, rayban said:

How do you find them?

You mean, how do I find them on YouTube? Sometimes they pop up as recommended titles based on other things I've watched.

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Since I had never heard of it - and you recommended it - I did watch it.

It's a very delicate piece of whimsy.

But it practically evaporates before your very eyes.

I liked the fact that Julie Christie was only fantasizing Michael Sarrazin's persona onto the mysterious Gregory.

And that, when that person showed up in the airport and she went to bed with him, he was not Gregory - he was a German student who played Auto-Ball.

Gregory finally puts in an appearance at the airport - but we don't get to see his face.

However, I do not find Michael Sarrazin to be a very attractive young man.

They should have cast somebody who was at least - "dreamy".

I loved John Hurt as brother, Daniel, though.

Was he in love with Gregory?

I sort of think so.

Warning - He's not Gregory!

f332f969dbbcffff08bb36b6178f2dc1.jpg

 

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37 minutes ago, rayban said:

However, I do not find Michael Sarrazin to be a very attractive young man.

They should have cast somebody who was at least - "dreamy".

Glad you had a chance to see it Ray. I don't think the male lead should have been dreamy. As I said in my original post, it makes the story funnier and more offbeat if the object of her fantasies is not exactly gorgeous and is a bit ordinary. She's wacky in the head. Also if they had put male eye candy on the screen that might have upstaged our lead actress and in every way this was meant to be a Julie Christie picture.

I agree with you that John Hurt is fantastic. He almost steals the show.

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It needed a director who could bring an ethereal quality to the proceedings.

Perhaps an Englishman with an artistic bent.

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3 minutes ago, rayban said:

It needed a director who could bring an ethereal quality to the proceedings.

Perhaps an Englishman with an artistic bent.

Definitely agree. Peter Wood (his real name by the way!) was the wrong director for this picture. 

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The peculiar nature of the material -whimiscal fantasy - is very difficult to capture.

But I would think that a gay director would help - immensely.

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4 minutes ago, rayban said:

The peculiar nature of the material -whimiscal fantasy - is very difficult to capture.

But I would think that a gay director would help - immensely.

So who do you think should have directed it? 

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10 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

So who do you think should have directed it? 

Perhaps Peter Greenaway?

Someone who could have lifted it up off the ground.

Both brother and sister want the same thing - to be "one" with Gregory.

julie-christie-john-hurt-in-search-of-gr

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Just now, rayban said:

Perhaps Peter Greenaway?

Someone who could have lifted it up off the ground.

Both brother and sister want the same thing - to be "one" with Gregory.

Yes, and I think they are using "Gregory" or their ideal of Gregory to stand in as a substitute maybe for their father. It's a psychologically complex movie and while it comes across as whimsy the themes run deep.

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I couldn't agree more.

You hit the nail on the head.

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In the one-of-a-kind car scene, full of homoerotic subtext, you could say that Daniel (John Hurt) finally becomes "one" with Gregory (Michael Sarrazin).

Later, riding on a crowded street with his feet on the handlebars of his motorbike, Daniel is totally "liberated".

He has already gotten what he truly wanted.

At the airport, when the Julie Christie character thinks that she, too, will be hooking up with Gregory and then is rudely awakened and is having sex with somebody else, she is far, far removed from the ecstasy that her own brother has already captured.

She returns home - to her boyfriend.

Her brother remains in Rome - with Gregory.

Emotional/sexual assault in a speeding car? -

in-search-of-gregory-dvd-1969-julie-chri

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25 minutes ago, rayban said:

In the one-of-a-kind car scene, full of homoerotic subtext, you could say that Daniel (John Hurt) finally becomes "one" with Gregory (Michael Sarrazin).

Later, riding on a crowded street with his feet on the handlebars of his motorbike, Daniel is totally "liberated".

He has already gotten what he truly wanted.

At the airport, when the Julie Christie character thinks that she, too, will be hooking up with Gregory and then is rudely awakened and is having sex with somebody else, she is far, far removed from the ecstasy that her own brother has already captured.

She returns home - to her boyfriend.

Her brother remains in Rome - with Gregory.

Emotional/sexual assault in a speeding car? -

in-search-of-gregory-dvd-1969-julie-chri

Interesting take on all this, Ray. The windshield/car scene is certainly one of the film's most memorable moments.

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The film is "nebulous" - so much can be "written" into it.

As already seems evident, you and I probably have different "takes" on it.

I see it as primarily "sexual".

For you, it seems to exist on a more "obsessional" level.

But the closest anyone gets to Gregory is John Hurt in the speeding car scene.

Would you agree that the film is about a brother and sister who want the same man?

Maybe not.

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1 hour ago, rayban said:

The film is "nebulous" - so much can be "written" into it.

As already seems evident, you and I probably have different "takes" on it.

I see it as primarily "sexual".

For you, it seems to exist on a more "obsessional" level.

But the closest anyone gets to Gregory is John Hurt in the speeding car scene.

Would you agree that the film is about a brother and sister who want the same man?

Maybe not.

MV5BNjFkMjFjYmYtNTA2YS00ZjFkLTk2ZTEtMTQ5

No I don't think the film is about a brother and sister who want the same man. But like you said, people can interpret and read into dramatic situations differently. I actually think "Gregory" is a device for them to feel something they didn't feel with their father. And that the real relationship at the heart of the story is an incestuous one between Christie and Hurt. Sarrazin's character, who is not technically real on any level, is an extension of what they have with each other. Sarrazin is a mirror of Hurt; and he's a more socially acceptable object of lust for Christie in place of Hurt.

This is not an LGBT film in my opinion, it's a carefully layered exercise in Freudian psycho-sexual impulses within a family.

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What more can I say?

Your "take" on the film is a very interesting one.

For me, it is an LGBT film.

I love it!

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I do think this film came out at the wrong time. Audiences in 1969 probably were not quite ready to embrace something so "free" and "nebulous" in post-code Hollywood. If GREGORY had come along in the 90s or early 2000s when art films were experiencing a wave of popularity, I think it would have been a much bigger hit. And as we have already discussed, if it had been guided by a different director who could have done it proper justice.

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10 minutes ago, rayban said:

Imagine this film in the hands of Alan Resnais!

Yes, it would certainly have a lot more pedigree than a Peter Wood film.

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The more that I think about Gregory - and the descriptions of him by others - the more that I think that Gregory is a gay man.

He dismisses a full orchestra and lets a young boy make "music" on found objects -

he sells canned air from the Alps -

he likes danger, speed and sex (the car scene) -

he seems to enchant a lot of people -

he has an apartment, but is rarely home -

he seems to be a sprite -

if the brother hasn't had him in the car, then, he has come pretty close -

it all adds up to gay, gay, gay -

he can't be pinned down - he exists on wings of air -

and he plays - auto-ball!!

in_search_of_gregory_by_yocarolyn-d7y51o

 

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Okay...

How does auto-ball mean a person is gay?

How does seldom being at home make a person gay?

How does selling canned air make a person gay? 

:) 

All we really know about "Gregory" is that he's elusive.

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11 minutes ago, rayban said:

He likes men.

You had to be there.

Okay. We'll take your word for it. :) 

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