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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Surreal, Dark, and Funny Satire
As a dinner party for wealthy arostocrats is beginning, the hosts are suddenly faced with an inexplicable mass walkout as one by one their staff leave, each with their own reason. As the evening draws to a close, equally inexplicably, none of the guests find themselves able to leave. Breaking all their social taboos they all sleep on the floor in the dining room,...
Published on 14 Sep 2006 by Green Man Music

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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A major flaw
One of Bunuel's best films, even if it could have been even better, if he would have waited ten years to produce it with greater actors and technique. But the problem here is that there are two very important scenes missing: the guests that will be unable to leave the party should have been seen entering the house twice (Yes, it's absurd, but it has a profound link with...
Published on 10 Oct 2006 by N. Lalonde


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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A major flaw, 10 Oct 2006
By 
N. Lalonde "nlalonde5" (Montreal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Exterminating Angel [1962] [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
One of Bunuel's best films, even if it could have been even better, if he would have waited ten years to produce it with greater actors and technique. But the problem here is that there are two very important scenes missing: the guests that will be unable to leave the party should have been seen entering the house twice (Yes, it's absurd, but it has a profound link with the fact that they can't leave.) This DVD unfortunately did cut both of the scenes, as if they were an error. Unforgivable.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film disappointing DVD, 14 Jan 2010
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This review is from: The Exterminating Angel [1962] [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
This version of the film has been edited to remove a repeated shot; where the dinner guests enter the house at the start of the story. If you have never seen the film before you might not know that this DVD does not present the film as Bunuel intended.

The repeated shot in question is at the start of the film when we are shown the guests entering the grand hallway twice, separated by a shot of the maids sneaking out the front door. Not only is this very disorientating, it is also the start of a series of double takes and repeats throughout the narrative which are crucial to the denouement of the film. To my mind its absence make quite a difference.

Before I bought this Arrow DVD I emailed the company to ask if the reports of missing shots was true. They assured me that it was the correct version of the film and included the repeated shot - well it doesn't - the scene is missing. My correspondence with them would indicate that they are surprised to discover this as they thought the shot was included.

Further research has unearthed one plausible answer to its absence: possibly the owners of this particular print, having little knowledge or understanding of the film, assumed that the repeated shot was a lab error and had it cut out.

This is a no frills, no extras DVD taken from a reasonable quality print. The whites can get a bit hot but on the whole the rich B & W photography of the original is reasonably well transferred. But it's still a major disappointment because of the missing shot which does affect the balance of the film in my opinion.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Surreal, Dark, and Funny Satire, 14 Sep 2006
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This review is from: The Exterminating Angel [1962] [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
As a dinner party for wealthy arostocrats is beginning, the hosts are suddenly faced with an inexplicable mass walkout as one by one their staff leave, each with their own reason. As the evening draws to a close, equally inexplicably, none of the guests find themselves able to leave. Breaking all their social taboos they all sleep on the floor in the dining room, beginning to become violent, lustful and degenerate as the days wear on. A crowd gathers outside, and equally none of the trapped partygoers' friends or relatives find themselves able to get in.

This is a great story; it plays out like a film-length version of one of the older style "Twilight Zone" episodes, and also has the lovely sting in the tail that goes with it. There are some surreal moments as well, including the random appearences of a bear and sheep inside the house and a disembodied floating hand.

There are clear stabs here by the director at what he sees as the aloofness of certain social groups considering themselves more civilised then others; the aristocracy, the masons, and the church.

Filmed in the 1960s in black and white and with subtitles to the Spanish dialogue, none of this detracts from a great story and an engrossing film.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Re-issue please, 20 April 2011
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This review is from: The Exterminating Angel [1962] [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
One star for a masterpiece! - and one of Bunuel's most intriguing films - Why? Well, two other reviewers point out the lunatic editing that has been perpetrated on this film - it is surely unforgivable that this version has not been withdrawn and a properly edited version released - when that happens I will purchase a copy immediately.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best B&W art movie of all?, 28 Oct 2009
By 
B. Moret (Albuquerque, New Mexico) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Exterminating Angel [1962] [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
Bunuel is one of the greatest moviemakers of all times and this is his best work.
Mordant, funny, ironic verging on sardonic, yet occasionally sympathetic to the
plight of its characters, and unfailingly artistic throughout.
Many single frames would by themselves win photography prizes -- the composition,
lighting, and rich B&W tones are simply gorgeous.
As in almost any Bunuel movie, there is no real story; instead, using nearly
only images (this could work as a silent movie), Bunuel tells us a parable
about bestial and noble actions, about the delicate nature of the veneer of
civilization, about mob behavior and moral virtues,
all crystallized in the light of an apparently supernatural condition
(hence the "angel" in the title).
At the end, Bunuel pulls one of his signature surprises on us, perhaps to tell us
that the rather wealthy and mostly vain people whose behavioral responses were
just illustrated under his camera's eye are just a random sample of humankind.
B&W movies do not come any better than this.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal and dark, 29 Aug 2006
By 
P. Sanders "prhsuk" (Belfast) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Exterminating Angel [1962] [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw this film about 10 years ago when i was at college and have been waiting a long time for it to come out on DVD. "The Exterminating Angel" is an attack on wealth and religion. A wealthy dinner party slowly descends into madness as the servants run away and the guests discover they are unable to leave. No physical force prevents them from going - it's just that someone tries to leave they inexplicably change their mind. The same is true for anyone trying to enter. As the outside world becomes fascinated by their plight, the guests descend into hunger, rage and madness, losing all the airs and graces that make them "civilised" and "respectable".

The film never reveals the cause of the strange curse, but the title implies some kind of divine punishment. The film is still startling today, particularly a macabre hallucination in which a woman is menaced by a disembodied hand.

A surreal classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Savages in the making., 8 May 2008
By 
Room for a View - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Exterminating Angel [1962] [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
Bunuel does it again - juxtaposing the superficiality and fragile characteristics of bourgoise society with the innate qualities of the beast that lies not very far from the human condition. The way he does this is sheer genius. The viewer is initially presented with a conventional dinner party for the rich and powerful, a bit of slapstick humour accompanied by a few surreal moments and, mysteriously, the gradual loss of the household staff with the exception of the butler (for me the hero of the piece). Then, when the guests decide to leave they can't. Why? We don't know! What follows is the disintegration of bourgoise morality, professional status and class divisions. With no food and only a fractured water pipe to quench their thirst the guests become increasingly tormented by their situation. Like lambs to the slaughter these people are no longer in control and their animal instincts take over. The scene with the severed hand is classic Bunuel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midsommer Murders, 17 Nov 2013
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Exterminating Angel [1962] [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
Bought mine from South Korea and the picture is pristine and it has the "missing" scene. Filmed in stark black and white, the film is a fore runner to Midsomer Murders, that great piece of soap lapped up by those who avidly gaze into the Express, Mail and Telegraph to learn the latest social convention, the bloodless imbiber of the habitus.

This film is less subtle than Midsommer Murders and Agatha Christie who both must have hated the social classes they were born into, as both willingly detail the back stabbing hypocrisies of their social class fellow warriors, to detail the shallow, shabby morals, the desire to grab the cash and spend to portray their good times.

Here Bunuel depicts a group of opera lovers who fail to leave the party, as the servants leave one by one. Taking leave of the event, their rich overlords are left to fend for themselves. Within the dialogue are those supreme "socially autistic" moments where people "let the side down" with barbed comments about each other and the world they live within. Bunuel's aim it to prick the bubble of pretence in which the middle and upper classes inabit. Within this world each tries to portray to the other, firstly they are not the same race as the lower orders and secondly the reason why they are not the same is because they have culture, refinement, manners, bearing, etiquete, belief and hope.

So Bunuel, draws on his experience of dinner parties, to strip away all of these self claimed attributes by dousing the scene in sulphuric acid, to wash away the act and reveal what lies inside. And just like the modern day exposure we are provided a glimpse of unhappy, self obsessives who have no sense of the world apart from what they imagine and project it to be. As we are led through the film he sticks the knife into each superiority claim to leave the viewer in no doubt, those who pretend are only involved in doing that.

There is no superiority apart from what people wish to believe to be true. So when you watch the film, the message becomes the main event and the acting takes on a wry twist throughout. However whilst Midsommer Murders can be lauded by those who it parodies, this film presents a different challenge, because it is less subtle. With Bunuel there is less ambivalence, less room for manouvere, it is a straight ahead assault.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Take away logic and the servants..., 1 Jun 2009
By 
technoguy "jack" (Rugby) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Exterminating Angel [1962] [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
This film was done after his belated and brief return to Spain to film his masterpiece'Viridiana'.This follow up made in Mexico shows how he dispensed with logic,removed explanation to create a strange world of
compulsion,fed by irrationality and blind ritual.He satirises the upper classes and the bourgoisie whose lives of empty formality cut them off from reality.This film rides on the premis: if the servants depart without reason what are the bourgoisie to do?The allegory of their hopeless dependency(unacknowledged) on the proletariat is made concrete by them being unable as if by some invisible forcefield to leave a salon room in their host's grand house.There are rumblings of weirdness with sheep and a bear roaming around.Some of the guests resort to masonic rituals,others to witchcraft,some die,others commit suicide.They are dying of thirst and start axing through the wall to get to a water pipe.They act as if they are on
a sinking ship,"Ladies first!".They also turn on each other.The force that keeps them there also keeps the army, the police and the public out.This film is an allegory of the Spanish Civil War showing Spain as a decaying mansion and the victory of the Nationalists as
the survival of the mediocre and unreason.This film has many lashings of dark humour that make it a delight
to watch,unforgettable and bizarre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three Meals From Revolution...Surrealist Comedy From Mexico, 16 Mar 2010
By 
Philoctetes (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Exterminating Angel [1962] [1966] [DVD] (DVD)
I wonder what was Bunuel's conception of the ideal viewer or viewing party for this film. Something of a surrealist puzzle, it requires several viewings and sharp eyes to find the significance in the Masonic and religious symbolism, as well as the psychoanalytic possibilities.

Hardly a comfortable or even a pleasurable experience. A dinner party of the well-to-do turns creepy when the guests prove reluctant/unable to leave. What stops them leaving or others entering? Why do all the servants walk out just as the quality arrives? How long before the facade of respectability shatters?

I enjoyed this a great deal more than The Discreet Charm Of the Bourgeoisie, and I hope to arrive at a coherent explanation, but when all's said and done, perhaps this is an historical artefact whose ideal audience has come and gone. I begin to think the atheist is too much in love with spiteful attacks...

Check it out. Viridiana is easier, but Bunuel's Angel invites discussion. Just don't sit still too long. The party has to end sometime.
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