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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cliff Robertson's Oscar Winning performance as Charly Gordon
"Charly" is based on Daniel Keyes's short story turned into a novel "Flowers for Algernon." The story was about Charly Gordon, a man who, in the parlance of the time, was mentally retarded. As part of a scientific experiment he is given a drug that turns him into a genius. The Algernon of the title is a lab rat who was the first guinea pig for this treatment. However, the...
Published on 25 July 2004 by Amazon Customer

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK IS BETTER...
This is a somewhat disappointing adaptation of the wonderful book, "Flowers for Algernon", by Daniel Keyes. This is not to say that Cliff Robertson's performance in the title role of Charly Gordon, a gentle, mentally challenged person, is not Oscar worthy. It is, and he deservedly won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Charly Gordon. Claire Bloom is also...
Published on 1 Jan 2003 by Lawyeraau


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK IS BETTER..., 1 Jan 2003
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Charly [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a somewhat disappointing adaptation of the wonderful book, "Flowers for Algernon", by Daniel Keyes. This is not to say that Cliff Robertson's performance in the title role of Charly Gordon, a gentle, mentally challenged person, is not Oscar worthy. It is, and he deservedly won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Charly Gordon. Claire Bloom is also noteworthy for her performance as Charly's teacher and love interest, Alice Kinian. The problem with this film lies in the screenplay and direction of the film.
The storyline is simple enough. Charly Gordon, a gentle, mentally challenged soul with a thirst for knowledge, attends night school in an effort to get smart. His teacher is Alice Kinian, a sensitive and caring person, who recognizes Charly's determination, as well as his limitations. She takes an interest in him and refers him to an institute that has been doing research in increasing the intelligence of laboratory mice through neurosurgery and is now on the cusp of attempting that experimental neorosurgery on humans. The institute is in the process of selecting candidates for its clinical trials.
Charly goes to the institute where he undergoes a battery of tests and has his capability for problem solving compared to that of a laboratory mouse named Algernon, whose intelligence has been surgically enhanced. After much deliberation, the institute decides to take Charly on as a human guinea pig, after Ms. Kinian eloquently persuades them that Charly's determination and sweet disposition should overcome the fact that he is below the threshold level of intelligence that they were looking for in a human subject.
Charly undergoes the neurosurgery which initially appears to be a success. He gets smart, very smart. The inevitable romance with Ms. Kinian follows, as Charly exceeds all expectations. It is here that the film begins to fall apart and takes a swan dive. In an effort to show the changes in Charly's life, the film shows a collage of stills and scenes of Charly and Ms. Kinian that are ludicrous and almost embarrassing. They are presented in a fashion that is best described as psychedelic. It is done so poorly, as to make the film lose credibility, and it is downhill from there on, as the story becomes one dimensional. The screenplay writer and director should have stuck to the book, both in story and in theme, remembering that you can't fix what ain't broke.
Still, Cliff Robertson's performance, as is that of Claire Bloom, is worth watching. If you have already read the book, however, prepare to be disappointed. If you have not read the book, as yet, watch the movie first, and then read the book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cliff Robertson's Oscar Winning performance as Charly Gordon, 25 July 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Charly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
"Charly" is based on Daniel Keyes's short story turned into a novel "Flowers for Algernon." The story was about Charly Gordon, a man who, in the parlance of the time, was mentally retarded. As part of a scientific experiment he is given a drug that turns him into a genius. The Algernon of the title is a lab rat who was the first guinea pig for this treatment. However, the treatment proves to be only temporary. Both versions of Keyes's story were done as diary entries, which provided a graphic indication of how Charly is changing.
The 1968 movie version, of course, opens up the story and gets away from the first-person perspective that made "Flowers for Algernon" so compelling. To add insult to injury, there is now a romance between Charly with a character named Alice Kinian (Claire Bloom). Of course, this changes the whole dynamic of the film, at the cost of the poignancy of Charly's relationship with Algernon. As the title character Cliff Robertson won the Oscar and clearly the problem is not with his performance but rather with Stirling Silliphant's screenplay. Still, to be fair, any film adaptation of the fragile original story was going to lose what made it so great.
Consequently, this is one of those films that you will enjoy more if you have not read "Flowers for Algernon." Of course, if you have not read either the short story or the novel, you should. At least this was an intelligence "science fiction" film for its day, certainly a more human story than other films of that era, such as "2001: A Space Odyssey."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK IS BETTER..., 13 Jan 2003
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Charly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is a somewhat disappointing adaptation of the wonderful book, "Flowers for Algernon", by Daniel Keyes. This is not to say that Cliff Robertson's performance in the title role of Charly Gordon, a gentle, mentally challenged person, is not Oscar worthy. It is, and he deservedly won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Charly Gordon. Claire Bloom is also noteworthy for her performance as Charly's teacher and love interest, Alice Kinian. The problem with this film lies in the screenplay and direction of the film.
The storyline is simple enough. Charly Gordon, a gentle, mentally challenged soul with a thirst for knowledge, attends night school in an effort to get smart. His teacher is Alice Kinian, a sensitive and caring person, who recognizes Charly's determination, as well as his limitations. She takes an interest in him and refers him to an institute that has been doing research in increasing the intelligence of laboratory mice through neurosurgery and is now on the cusp of attempting that experimental neurosurgery on humans. The institute is in the process of selecting candidates for its clinical trials.
Charly goes to the institute where he undergoes a battery of tests and has his capability for problem solving compared to that of a laboratory mouse named Algernon, whose intelligence has been surgically enhanced. After much deliberation, the institute decides to take Charly on as a human guinea pig, after Ms. Kinian eloquently persuades them that Charly's determination and sweet disposition should overcome the fact that he is below the threshold level of intelligence that they were looking for in a human subject.
Charly undergoes the neurosurgery, which initially appears to be a success. He gets smart, very smart. The inevitable romance with Ms. Kinian follows, as Charly exceeds all expectations. It is here that the film begins to fall apart and takes a swan dive. In an effort to show the changes in Charly's life, the film shows a collage of stills and scenes of Charly and Ms. Kinian that are ludicrous and almost embarrassing. They are presented in a fashion that is best described as psychedelic. It is done so poorly, as to make the film lose credibility, and it is downhill from there on, as the story becomes one dimensional. The screenplay writer and director should have stuck to the book, both in story and in theme, remembering that you can't fix what ain't broke.
Still, Cliff Robertson's performance, as well as that of Claire Bloom, is worth watching. If you have already read the book, however, prepare to be disappointed. If you have not read the book, as yet, watch the movie first, and then read the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable film, 20 Oct 2005
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Charly [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
Charly (Cliff Robertson) is thirty years old and has the mental age of a young child. He works at a menial job where he is tormented endlessly, and he isn't progressing in his special night school. His teacher, Alice (Claire Bloom), recommends him to a clinic where an experimental operation has radically increased the intelligence of a lab mouse named Algernon. When Charly tests against Algernon on figuring out a maze, the mouse always does it faster. After he undergoes the surgery, Charly not only beats Algernon on the maze, but his mental ability starts to soar past normal to the genius level. He and Alice fall in love and make plans for the future, until, sadly, he learns one more thing from Algernon.
Robertson earned an Academy Award for his stunning portrayal of the gentle, childlike man whose life changes completely. He is a mature and charismatic actor and gives a memorable performance. Claire Bloom is also wonderful as his teacher. The script is excellent, never overly-sentimental and always literate and thought-provoking. I recommend this timeless classic as an example of how good movies used to be made.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great, 11 Mar 2010
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This review is from: Charly [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
Having just finished the book 'Flowers for Algenon' I thought I'd give this film version a go, despite some wary reviews. It's not a very good film at all and I'm surprised that Cliff Robertson won an Oscar for his performance, which was ok, but not awe inspiring. Many differences with the book, but sadly none that I enjoyed. Of course a film always has to be expedient whereas a book can take its time, but we literally only glimpse the angry Charlie, and his relationship with Alice is all too easy. Some of the cinematography is very spirit-of-the-60's which is an amusing distraction. I'll give one star because the story is good, one for Cliff Robertson's performance and one for Algenon's!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good effort, 24 Nov 2014
This review is from: Charly (DVD)
Like many of the other reviewers, I was a big fan of the book and comparisons are inevitable. There's a lot to like here, particularly some strong performances. Cliff Robertson is deserving of his Oscar for his portrayal of Charlie Gordon (and I enjoyed realising that he was Uncle Ben in the Sam Raimi Spiderman series), and while I imagined Miss Kinlan differently in the book, Claire Bloom does a good job of bringing her to life on the screen. The scenes with Algernon running the mazes were well shot, and I enjoyed the Ravi Shankar score. The disappointment for me was that the film lacked some of the emotional punch of the book, and in particular I think this is due to having left out a lot of the parts about Charlie's back story, his upbringing and difficult relationship with both his mother and sister. I was a bit thrown by the psychedlic sequence in the film when Charlie is riding around with a motorbike gang... not sure where that came from. A good watch overall, but may be a disappoint to those who loved the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Read "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes., 13 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Charly [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw this film as a child on T.V. in the 1970s and it was one of the most moving and sad films I had ever seen. As a world weary, hard bitten adult it doesn't have the same impact it did then but Cliff Robertson's performance is still outstanding and as science fiction it makes a welcome change from space opera, high tech thrillers and super hero films based on comic books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Taking drugs makes you bright, 31 Dec 2013
By 
Juan Carlos Mateo (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Charly [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
A film about turning a mentally challenged adult into a smart genius. Where have you seen that lately? This story line has been done many a time but this version is classed as one of the best. Give it a try, you will not regret it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars hello, 16 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Charly [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
on time and in the condition described
I have had many hours of pleasure with this buy.
I am very happy
many thanks
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tearjerker, 12 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Charly [1968] [DVD] (DVD)
Saw this film many years ago and read about it recently so purchased a copy. A bit old fashioned, but still a fabulous film to watch with a bag of chocs and a box of tissues.
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