Avoiding many of the trappings of its more serious 1960s stablemates, by depicting the deepening mental instability of its eponymous character in broad strokes and larger-than-life imagery, Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment (Optimum Releasing) is something of a unique picture.
David Warner is Morgan, a man whose marriage to the aloof Leonie (Vanessa Redgrave) has fallen apart, causing her to take up with a new man, Charles Napier (Robert Stephens), while Morgan slumps into depression.
Determined to win his soon-to-be-ex-wife back, Morgan undertakes a series of “rescue” attempts, his aim to kill Napier or die trying. With explosions, kidnapping and a gorilla suit all part of Morgan’s increasingly unusual armoury, Leonie has to decide whether she’s better off with a mad man or a life with some stability.
Aided by director Karel Reisz’s frenetic camera, Warner perfoms David Mercer’s script with exuberance, adding much colour to the black and white depiction of swinging 1960s London taking place in the background.
Morgan’s actions may be outlandish, his mind losing its grip on reality, but Warner still manages to elicit sympathy from the audience, even in the fantasy sequences.
Redgrave makes for sultry and sexy opposition for our hero, her intentions never entirely clear, though Morgan’s feelings do appear reciprocated. Poor Robert Stephens is out-acted at every turn by Warner, but he manages a few interesting moments as the more serious suitor.
With a strong supporting cast in the shape of Irene Handl, Bernard Bresslaw and Graham Crowden, Morgan is a fun romp with a serious edge, the very definition of a bittersweet comedy.