An aggressively bizarre but fascinating movie adapted from Peter Weiss’ play.It’s set entirely inside an asylum as its inmates enact the events leading up to Charlotte Corday’s fatal visit to French revolutionary activist Jean-Paul Marat. As the Marquis de Sade (Patrick Magee) runs the show and seems hardly more sane than his performers, the aristocratic audience (separated from the actors by bars) clucks to itself as various cast members occasionally lose control or launch into anti-government tirades that de Sade had agreed to cut from the play. We, of course, are part of the audience and feel like cheap voyeurs.
Depending on how you look at it, the film is either a protest against the Vietnam War that was heating up or possibly a comment on how these insane “actors” aren’t a lot different from real actors. Once seen, not readily forgotten.Glenda Jackson reprises her stage role as Charlotte Corday, the role that first got her noticed.