From Cecil B. DeMille, the legendary director of The Plainsman, The Sign of the Cross, Union Pacific and Reap the Wild Wind, comes the adventure-filled Four Frightened People, starring the fabulous Claudette Colbert (Cleopatra, The Gilded Lily). When a deadly bubonic plague breaks out on a coastal steamer ship, four passengers steal a lifeboat and set sail on a mission of survival. They land on a remote Malayan island and soon shed all trappings of their former selves. After their native guide is suddenly murdered, they find themselves at the mercy of hostile islanders and must use their newfound survival skills if they are going to escape a terrible fate. Co-starring Herbert Marshall (The Good Fairy), Mary Boland (Stingaree), William Gargan (The Story of Temple Drake) and Leo Carrillo (20 Mule Team), this largely overlooked treasure highlights the versatility of one of Hollywood’s most renowned filmmakers.
As embodied by Alan Bates, Butley falls back on the surgically precise wit and savage eloquence that helped put him in his current circumstances in the first place. The blitzkrieg of vitriolic commentary with which Butley engages lovers, students, rivals, and allies, all with equal ferocity, becomes a glass bottom boat illuminating the churning depths of his bankrupted soul. Acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter, in what Time Magazine hailed as “a quite superior directorial debut,” turns author Simon Gray’s single-set, dialogue driven stage play into an irresistible dynamic visual experience that tracks Bates’ hilarious and fearless performance with cunning precision.
Bates and an expert supporting cast, including OscarÃ‚Â® winner Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy), joust with a sly, self-referencing wit and an unselfconscious exuberance that is breathtaking. With every verbal parry and valedictory flourish of wordplay, Butley’s life becomes more of an inescapable bear trap of thwarted ambition, clandestine affection, and squandered brilliance.