London – Morgan (Warner), a mentally ill fantasist, arrives back from Greece where his wife Leonie (Redgrave), a wealthy and attractive woman, paid him to stay until their divorce was completed. However, he comes back early – just missing Leonie as she leaves her home for the divorce hearing. He makes himself at home; reorganising his loft art studio, eating her food and placing a human skeleton in her bed. When Leonie arrives back home she lets out a shriek as she discovers the skeleton, and not being able to remove Morgan from her home the pair argue over the divorce; Morgan wanting to rekindle their romance and Leonie wanting separation, and to begin a new relationship with a Charles Napier (Robert Stephens), a bourgeois art dealer. However, despite Leonie’s determination to part with Morgan she appears to exhibit a latent desire for his lunacy. Morgan continues in vain to win back his sweetheart with a series outlandish gestures including; rigging her house with speakers and playing animal sounds, kidnapping her and assaulting Charles, which all eventually builds to an insane crescendo.
The narrative is rather slow; the first two acts are almost there to set up a series of events that illustrate Morgan’s strange mental condition for comic effect. A genuine plot point (an event that turns the films action in another direction) does not occur until about an hour into the film, where Morgan decides to kidnap his wife and take her to live in a tent on the lake. Stylistically the film is rather generic, barring the peculiar non-diegetic inserts of animal footage intended to illustrate Moragan’s fantasies. Also, excluding a few minor discontinuity issues the production value is rather good for the time period.
Morgan, A Suitable Case for Treatment is a mixture of Benny Hill style comic routines, Soviet Communist propaganda and surrealism – if you think you have seen everything cinema has to offer then this film might surprise you. Watching this film is like watching Tod Brownings Freaks for the first time; you get sense of viewing something truly unique that could never be made in the same way today. However, the film is not overly entertaining until the third act, and only really recommended to those who enjoy camp or kitsch cinema.
Morgan, A Suitable Case for Treatment is released on DVD on the 17th January – order it here