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The Ninth Configuration Reviews

William Peter Blatty, best known as the author of The Exorcist, makes his debut as producer, director, and screenwriter with this adaptation of his own novel. Stacy Keach, an Army psychiatrist assigned to a remote castle-cum-military asylum in the Pacific Northwest, encourages his patients to enact their fantasies as part of their therapy, but he has his own reasons for telling them to do so. The dialog is weird and often incomprehensible in this very strange, personal film, but Blatty has a good sense of the absurd and handles the direction well, making sure things are never quite what they seem to be. The supporting cast is excellent, especially Scott Wilson as an astronaut who flipped out on the launching pad and aborted his mission. Offbeat, visionary, and challenging, THE NINTH CONFIGURATION was never understood by the studio, which released several different versions of varying length: 140 minutes, 105 minutes, 99 minutes, 104 minutes, and 118 minutes. The last was the cut Blatty approved and, luckily, is available on videocassette.