Cul-de-sac (1966 film)
Original film poster
|Directed by||Roman Polanski|
|Produced by||Gene Gutowski
|Written by||Roman Polanski
|Music by||Krzysztof Komeda|
|Editing by||Alastair McIntyre|
Tekli British Productions
|Distributed by||Sigma III (Original)
Transmission Films (Online)
|Running time||112 minutes|
The cast includes Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac, Lionel Stander, Jack MacGowran, Iain Quarrier, Geoffrey Sumner, Renée Houston, William Franklyn, Trevor Delaney, Marie Kean. It also features Jacqueline Bisset (credited as Jackie Bisset) in a small role, in her second film appearance. The black and white cinematography is by Gil Taylor.
The film begins with gangster Richard pushing his broken-down car through rising seawater while his companion Albert lies inside, bleeding from a gunshot wound after a bungled robbery. Cut off by the unexpected rising tide, they are on the only road to a bleak and remote tidal island where, in a dark castle on a hilltop, the effeminate and neurotic George lives with his pretty young wife Teresa. Richard then proceeds to hold the two hostage while awaiting rescue by his boss, the mysterious Katelbach.
When Albert dies from his injuries, Richard decides to take over the castle as George grows increasingly paranoid, Teresa increasingly flirtatious, and Richard more violent. George shortly throws a party for some of his friends, leading Richard to pose as a servant while Teresa begins to flirt with one of the guests, Cecil.
Richard realizes that his boss Katelbach is not going to come, so he demands George drive him to the mainland by causeway. George, who has had enough of Richard's orders, goes berserk and shoots Richard. Teresa, meanwhile, abandons George for Cecil. Abandoned, George walks to the beach and sits down as the tide rises while weeping at the departure of his wife.
- Donald Pleasence as George
- Françoise Dorléac as Teresa
- Lionel Stander as Richard
- Jack MacGowran as Albie
- Iain Quarrier as Christopher
- Geoffrey Sumner as Christopher's father
- Renée Houston as Christopher's mother
- Robert Dorning as Philip Fairweather
- Marie Kean as Marion Fairweather
- William Franklyn as Cecil
- Jackie Bisset as Jacqueline
- Trevor Delaney as Nicholas
The film was shot on location in 1965 on the island of Lindisfarne (also known as Holy Island) off the coast of Northumberland, England. Lindisfarne Castle, which served as the home in the film, is now a National Trust property and can be toured by the public; despite the passage of forty years, the building and its surroundings are largely unchanged.
Like his previous film Repulsion, it explores themes of horror, frustrated sexuality and alienation, which have become characteristic of most of Polanski's films, notably Rosemary's Baby and The Tenant.
Cul-de-Sac has been compared in tone and theme with the works of Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett; Jack MacGowran was renowned for his stage performances of Beckett's plays. The film's German title is Wenn Katelbach kommt (When Katelbach Comes).
- Matthew Sweet "The lost worlds of British cinema: The horror", The Independent, 29 January 2006
- "CUL-DE-SAC (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2012-11-15. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- John Hamilton, Beasts in the Cellar: The Exploitation Film Career of Tony Tenser, Fab Press, 2005 p 75
- "Cul-de-sac". British Film Institute. 2006-04-04. Retrieved 2007-06-19.
- Bergan, Ronald (2006-09-19). "Gérard Brach". Observer Unlimited (The Observer). Retrieved 2007-06-19.
- "Berlinale 1966: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-02-17.
- Cul-de-Sac at the Internet Movie Database
- Cul-de-Sac at the BFI
- Cul-de-Sac, an article by Christopher Weedman, at Senses of Cinema