Start the Revolution Without Me (1970)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Farce  |   Release Date - Feb 4, 1970 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Start the Revolution Without Me has developed something of a cult following in the decades since its release, comprised largely of fans of stars Donald Sutherland and Gene Wilder and of the anarchic, anything-goes farcical style of mid-'70s Mel Brooks. Like those Brooks films, Revolution is very silly and very frenetic; also like (some of) those Brooks films, Revolution doesn't always know when to pull back. There are some things, such as the ball at the palace, that work tremendously well; there are, unfortunately, many others that simply fall flat. This becomes increasingly the case toward the end of the film, which simply peters out. Many will feel that Revolution has built up sufficient good will before this so that they won't mind, but others will become increasingly irritated with Revolution and feel that it promises much more than it delivers. Whatever one's reaction, most viewers will find the stars well worth watching and will be delightfully surprised by the wonderful comic performance of Hugh Griffith as Louis XVI. There's also some opulent visuals, which tend to work against the actual comedy but are quite attractive on their own terms. Bud Yorkin's direction is as uneven as the film itself; again, those who are "tuned in" won't mind the lapses.