Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Armaguedon (1977)

Armaguedon is the first movie where director Alain Jessua used a novel for the story. He usually insisted to write his own movie, but after a series of failures, he looked for a good book to be adapted and David Lippincott's book was chosen. Jean Yanne plays Louis Carrier, a television engineer, who inherits 25 millions after his brother's death. He decides to let the world know about his existence by sending threats to kill someone important, under the name of Armageddon. The name Armageddon comes from a book called Apocalypse, from The Bible. He reads: "Armageddon. The wrath of God. The punishment. The last judgement." With his accomplice Einstein (Renato Salvatori), who is mentally retarded, Carrier sends to the police all over Europe photos which show him with important people, to show that he can kill them if he wants. In the scene where Scotland Yard receives his message, we can see a secretary reads to her boss what they got that morning: "12 letters insulting the Queen, 2 bombing blackmails, 8 criminals denounce, 3 threats to rape Princess Anne. Nothing out of ordinary." Nevertheless they go on with the Armageddon case.

Inspector Vivien (Michel Duchaussoy) who investigates the case, invites his friend Dr Michel Ambrose (Alain Delon), a psychiatrist. Dr Ambrose wants to help Carrier, but after a failed trap, Carrier becomes angry and kills 2 young people. He then demands his film to be played on European channels so that he can send his message, or a room filled with spectators of a live TV show will be bombed.

When I hear the word 'Armageddon', I think of something so destructive, like the Michael Bay movie, for example. So there is something funny in this Alain Jessua movie. Every time I see a line like "10 days to Armageddon", I wait for something horrible to happen. In the movie, Carrier 'only' kills 3 people: the young man & woman, and a character played by Michel Creton who tries to blackmail him. [I'm not sure what happens to Einstein. He carries the bomb. Does it explode in the end? If yes, that makes 4. ] In the movie the media nicknames him 'The apocalyptic killer', although at that time he hasn't killed anyone yet (Creton's body hasn't been found).

I like very much the scene inside Madame Tussaud museum in London. It is nice to be able to see what it looked like in the 70's.


M. said...

Hello, I did not want to continue reading everything what you have written on this movie, due to the fact that I am reading Lippincott's book, and I would not like to go forward to the facts that in him happen.
I write to you, because I am very interested in the movie. And where I reside (Argentina), it is impossible to obtain it. I tried searching for Internet, but it(he,she) is not either. Then, I wanted to know how you obtained it.
I wait you are well, and not to be bothering her. I know that my English is very bad, you forgive it. I order regards to you. (In the school said: best wishes)

M. said...

Having read the book and seen the movie, I must say that in the film are represented almost all situations. The end is a bit changed, but let down:
In the book, Lars Colonius (Louis Carriere = LC), asks an Arab, which manufactures a bag to store their weapons, while it can become a medical bag, to go unnoticed. The craftsman of the underworld, offended to LC when charged him for the quality of work, and partly to keep quiet. Days later, a bomb exploded in the premises. That is a death that does not appear in the film.
The body of the first murderer, appears at the bottom of a lake, in the book. And that serves to investigate the people and to reach the conclusion that LC was the guest at the hotel. (place where Einstein and LC are known they).
The story takes place in parts of North America. Mainly in Macon and New York. The film shifts the LC moving to Europe. And I see that there are many details wath the book are maintained. The photo with Mick Jagger, the picture on the fake Oval Office of the White House, and so on.
However, I think we should point out a couple of features of the characters that I have not found in the film. As for LC and Einstein, there was not much warmth. In fact, Einstein professed a fondness to LC, since it made him feel inside of something important, and he was kind enough to give her a real camera. LC had a cold personality but that really frightened Einstein.
Then, Dr. Ambrose. There was a love-hate relationship between the psychiatrist and LC. But Dr. Ambrose was more humane. In fact, Dr. Ambrose was forced to smoke marijuana and snuff, because ulcers typical of repression meant their profession. It was not frequenting women, as seen in the film; in fact, the book don't refers to the sex lives of the characters directly.
There is a character in the film, which seems to sum up to two characters in the book: The Inspector Vivien. The character has more ingredients representing to Evan Evans (police expert, leader, tenacious, sometimes discusses the methods of Ambrose, but respects many others of him, and too the intuitive sense), and Goddard (Chief Security Officer, wath recruiting Evan Evans and Ambrose for Case Armaguedon, and usually the intermediary between people who act, the FBI and the rulers).
Ambrose's character is forced to contribute to research ... or rather: be responsible for it ... be in charge of the investigation.
At the end: Ambrose, Evans and Goddard... they arrive at the LC's operations center, with other police. LC seems willing to surrender, as the time bomb has Einstein in the study and plan will materialize anyway (in a few minutes). But one wrong move, make him shoot a policeman. Dying, LC looks ready to give information about the bomb, while Ambrose, gently soothes him.
Einstein enters the room and LC insult to him. Einstein tries to explain that when he saw projected images of the couple prostitute who LC have electrocuted, fell ill and took the help of a young-man to escape the theater.
LC tries to silence Einstein. Einstein says in his apology that clocks in clothing that has not sounded, so Evan Evans rips his clothes off the pump. The book concludes by quoting the diary of LC, which says exactly what Ambrose is in the red banner where are the photographs.
I am very sad not knowing English. I am ashamed to send you a text so long, would have to say interesting things, but they are poorly written.
Hope you like it, beautiful Indonesian lady.

Inge said...

Very interesting. I read an article, cannot remember now who said it, perhaps Alain Jessua, admitting an error in the script because Ambrose never meets Carrier, except until the end. In the book, does Ambrose meet LC before he is dying?

M. said...

Yes, yes: of fact, Ambrose is one of 3 persons who enter first to LC's room. Ambrose and LC are recognized nicely.
They are on the verge of beginning a nice dialog. But a scared policeman, shoots to Louis Carriere.
He, injured man, tries to speak with Ambrose, who supports it in the soil, consoling it, while he hopes that Carriere gives information about the bomb of the theatre. LC says that the bomb is not activated by a transmitter, but it is a time bomb. The policemen communicate with the study, to evacuate the theatre immediately.
It is there when Einstein enters the room. Carriere was thinking that it had quite controlled up to the moment. But when he sees Einstein, he feels that the plan was careless, and that already has desiciĆ³n not even control.
It had been an end interesting to leave an end opened in this moment. Or that the bomb was exploding, finally.
But there it is when Einstein asks for pardon, while Carriere insults it. And in this dialog, there filters the information of which the bomb is in Einstein's suit, and one of the policemen disarms it.
The dead only one, he was the young man who was near one of the doors, helping the people to go out of the theatre, when the camera is filming not the exit.
This young man, dies squashed by the stampede of the people going out of the theatre.
Miss: since my text is bad written, you can edit it since you like want, and to erase my defective words. An embrace.

Inge said...

Again, thanks very much for your comments. I cannot edit them, but do not worry since I can understand what you have written. My English is not perfect, either.