Those who fondly remember the dear, dead days of live TV will recall that Cliff Robertson originally created the leading roles in "The Hustler" and "Days of Wine and Roses," roles subsequently played onscreen by Paul Newman and Jack Lemmon. Not to be outdone for a third time, Robertson bought the rights to another of his TV plays, "The Two Worlds of Charly Gordon," and has carefully nursed that purchase for some time. The end result is "Charly," a Selmur production released by Cinerama, and it's a downbeat, earnest, often moving look at a mentally retarded adult who becomes a supermind as a result of scientific experiments, who falls in love and then must face a gradual recession back to a semi-imbecilic state. Hardly material for a musical comedy. Directed by Ralph Nelson ("Lillies of the Field") in Techniscope and Technicolor from Stirling Silliphant's screenplay, "Charly" suffers from an indeterminate center of focus and some poorly-handled splitscreen images, but Robertson's performance is so sensitive, and Claire Bloom, Lilia Skala
and others give such solid support that this unusual entry will certainly appeal to more specialized audiences. An added plus is Ravi Shankar's musical score, his first for an American film.
The sensitive subject matter demands imaginative selling. Tie-ins with hospital organizations, mental health groups and other humanitarian interests are suggested. Ravi Shankar's score is an asset. Catchlines: A Love Story That Begins With an Unusual Experiment!
FLASHBACK: Sept. 23 1968
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