Few segmented films are successful, generally because the sequences are not of consistent quality. In QUARTET, however, the wit and poignancy of the W. Somerset Maugham stories upon which the segments are based are in full force throughout, each tale holding its own in the hands of a
different director and through the talents of the performers. In "The Facts of Life," the conservative Radford cautions his apparently naive son, Watling, to avoid gambling, lending money, or trusting women while on his tennis tour of Monte Carlo. Indeed, Watling does seems to be as gullible as
they come, winning big at roulette only to be duped by an adventuress, Zetterling. But can he be so dumb? "The Alien Corn" stars Bogarde, in one of his early and most memorable roles, as an aspiring musician who is in love with Honor Blackman, but also obsessed with becoming a world-class talent.
After studying for two years in Paris, he returns to England to be bluntly and cruelly informed by a famous composer that he will never make the grade. In "The Kite," George Cole is dominated by a shrewish mother, Baddeley, and marries the same kind of woman, Susan Shaw. But he escapes this cycle
when Shaw destroys his prized kite. The final entry, "The Colonel's Lady," features Nora Swinburne as a woman who becomes famous after a collection of her love poems is published. Her husband, Cecil Parker, is driven to distraction by the fact that this sonnet sequence is addressed to a younger,
dashing man. Unable to stand it any longer, he finally confronts his wife and demands to be told the identity of the young lover, with whom he suspects her of having an affair. All of these ironic tales are excellent, disproving the notion that segmented films cannot sustain interest. This one
does it all the way.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Few segmented films are successful, generally because the sequences are not of consistent quality. In QUARTET, however, the wit and poignancy of the W. Somerset Maugham stories upon which the segments are based are in full force throughout, each tale holdi… (more)