The Comedians

Synopsis: Set in the Haiti of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, The Comedians tells the story of a sardonic Welsh hotel owner and his encroaching fatalism as he watches Haiti sink into barbarism and poverty. Complications include his inability to sell the hotel so he can leave, a friendship with a rebel leader, some politically "charged" hotel guests, an affair with the German-born wife of a South American ambassador, and the manipulations of a British arms dealer who's in over his head.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Peter Glenville
Production: MGM
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins.
Rotten Tomatoes:
150 min

Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello.

All good things come to an end, eh?

I get off here in Haiti.

We are going to Santo Domingo.

I shall miss our little sessions

of gin rummy.


- You owe me 35 bucks, old man.

- My wife.

You take it in pesetas?

- No dollars?

- No.

Any old currency is good between pals.

Fifty-four to the dollar.

- I make it 1,890 pesetas.

- Here. Take 2,000.

Anything to oblige.


- Come in, Major.

- There you are, Brown.

- Join us in a glass.

- Thanks. I'll have to be nippy, though.

I haven't finished my packing,

and some of the top brass

will be waiting for me on shore.

- With soda?

- Just a splash.

I brought you back the bits and pieces

you lent me for the concert.

You certainly took us all in

with your conjuring tricks.

Oh, what about him?

He was in magnificent voice.

I wish I understood Dutch.

If I'm not up at the hotel too late, old man,

don't lock me out.

It means I'm taking tiffin

with Colonel Biche.

- You know the Colonel?

- No, I don't mix in such high circles.

I'll bring him up sometime for a drink

and introduce you.

Is this yours, Major?

Oh, my goodness, yes.

Oh, thanks. Oh, I wouldn't lose that

for all the tea in China.

It was with me in Burma in '42 and '3,

the bad years.

"Major H.O. Jones, 5 Corps, lmphal."

Well, I had that added after the war

for old times' sake.

Well, mustn't keep the nobs waiting.

See you at the hotel.

Waste not, want not.

Cheerio, purser.

See you on your return trip if I'm still here.

If you can't be good, be careful.

- You counted the bags, dear?

- Yes, four.

- And the cartons?

- Twenty-three.


Well, here we go.

You know, this could be the beginning

of our greatest achievement.

No, no, no, not tourist.

- I'm here on business.

- Looking for someone?

I'm here by special invitation, you see.

I expected to be met.

- Your name?

- Jones. Major Jones.

Met? By who?

By Colonel Biche, your Chief of Staff.

Colonel Biche?

- May I see the invitation?

- By all means.

Please, come with me.

- Where to?

- My office. It is just near.

- My letter.

- You shall have it back.

This way.

- My luggage.

- We will see to that.

No service is too much

for a friend of Colonel Biche.

First-class voyage.

Oh, look, dear,

Major Jones has found his friends.

Oh, good.

Sea like a pond,

very pleasant companions.

What the hell is this?

Who are these thugs?

I am Captain Concasseur,

and these thugs

are the President's special police,

Tontons Macoutes.

They've received very unfair publicity

in your British journals.

They'll have worse after this.

I demand to see my ambassador.

You have no ambassador, Major Jones.

We expelled him three months ago.

This is Michel.

I always have him present

at interrogations.

- What do you want to know?

- There's no hurry.

First, undress.

- Undress?

- Undress.

You're going a bit too far.

You simply can't strip a brother officer

starkers in front of the other ranks.

I mean, it's bloody outrageous.


Welcome to Haiti.

Hello, Petit Pierre.

How did you know I was aboard?

The eyes and ears of the press,

Monsieur Brown.

How good to see you back in Haiti.

- How were the bright lights of Broadway?

- Too bright.

Are we still blacked out

every evening here in Port-au-Prince?

You will find nothing has changed,

Monsieur Brown, nothing.

You have just time

to reach your hotel before dark.

Petit Pierre, do me a favor.

There's an appointment I have to keep.

You see my bags through the customs

and have them sent to the hotel?

It's a pleasure, Monsieur Brown.

Give me your tickets.

Thank you.

That's eight, dear.

How long you stay?

I live here.

Where's Major Jones?

He's a guest in my hotel.

- This is his hat.

- He was met.

Petit Pierre, would you have that

sent up with my bags? He'll miss it.

- How long you've been away?

- Three months.

- New York?

- Yes.

- Business?

- Yes.

What business?

I was trying to sell my hotel.

There were no takers.

- No?

- No takers at all.

Haitian stocks are very low.

Anything else you want to know?

Monsieur Brown is a great lover of Haiti

and a personal friend.

- I'll call for this later.

- Okay.

Tell me, have you any...

Have you any news for my paper?

They've invented a new toothpaste

in the States that tastes like a dry martini.

No kidding.

And I've snared three passengers

for my hotel.

Tourists back in Haiti?

That is news indeed.

Monsieur, give me five cents.

Five cents, Monsieur.

Give me five cents. Five cents, Monsieur.

Five cents.

One of them is a Major Jones.

- Major Jones?

- J-O-N-E-S.

He fought the Japs in Burma.

If you want colorful stories, he's your man.

I've heard at least 100.

And your other guests?

Mr. And Mrs... Now there's a tidbit for you.

Smith ran as presidential candidate

in 1948 against Truman.

- Taxi!

- Pardon, Monsieur Brown.

Did you say presidential candidate?

I've a bad memory. 1948. Dewey?

Well, I'd never heard of Smith, either,

but it appears he ran

on the vegetarian ticket.

- An eccentric!

- He has great plans for Haiti.

He has an introduction

to the Minister of Social Welfare.

- Taxi! Can you stop these fellows?

- Yes, yes.

Monsieur Brown,

did you mean Monsieur Philipot?

Yes, he's still the Minister, isn't he?

I think it'd be better if I went back

and helped with your friends.

They do not know Haiti as you do.

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Graham Greene

Henry Graham Greene (2 October 1904 – 3 April 1991), better known by his pen name Graham Greene, was an English novelist regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Combining literary acclaim with widespread popularity, Greene acquired a reputation early in his lifetime as a major writer, both of serious Catholic novels, and of thrillers (or "entertainments" as he termed them). He was shortlisted, in 1966 and 1967, for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Through 67 years of writings, which included over 25 novels, he explored the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world, often through a Catholic perspective. Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a Roman Catholic novelist, rather than as a novelist who happened to be Catholic, Catholic religious themes are at the root of much of his writing, especially the four major Catholic novels: Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair; which are regarded as "the gold standard" of the Catholic novel. Several works, such as The Confidential Agent, The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Human Factor, and his screenplay for The Third Man, also show Greene's avid interest in the workings and intrigues of international politics and espionage. Greene was born in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire into a large, influential family that included the owners of the Greene King Brewery. He boarded at Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire, where his father taught and became headmaster. Unhappy at the school, he attempted suicide several times. He went up to Balliol College, Oxford, to study history, where, while an undergraduate, he published his first work in 1925—a poorly received volume of poetry, Babbling April. After graduating, Greene worked first as a private tutor and then as a journalist – first on the Nottingham Journal and then as a sub-editor on The Times. He converted to Catholicism in 1926 after meeting his future wife, Vivien Dayrell-Browning. Later in life he took to calling himself a "Catholic agnostic". He published his first novel, The Man Within, in 1929; its favourable reception enabled him to work full-time as a novelist. He supplemented his novelist's income with freelance journalism, and book and film reviews. His 1937 film review of Wee Willie Winkie (for the British journal Night and Day), commented on the sexuality of the nine-year-old star, Shirley Temple. This provoked Twentieth Century Fox to sue, prompting Greene to live in Mexico until after the trial was over. While in Mexico, Greene developed the ideas for The Power and the Glory. Greene originally divided his fiction into two genres (which he described as "entertainments" and "novels"): thrillers—often with notable philosophic edges—such as The Ministry of Fear; and literary works—on which he thought his literary reputation would rest—such as The Power and the Glory. Greene had a history of depression, which had a profound effect on his writing and personal life. In a letter to his wife, Vivien, he told her that he had "a character profoundly antagonistic to ordinary domestic life," and that "unfortunately, the disease is also one's material." William Golding described Greene as "the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man's consciousness and anxiety." He died in 1991, at age 86, of leukaemia, and was buried in Corseaux cemetery. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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