A Day At The Beach

It may sound churlish to say so, but sometimes movies get lost for a reason. This oneadapted by coproducer Roman Polanski from a short story by Dutch writer Heere Heresma in 1969, after the success of Rosemary’s Baby, and directed by Simon [SP???]Hesera, one of Polanski’s best friendswas shot in Copenhagen, chiefly with English actors, and reportedly lost by Paramount Pictures after a single screening the following year. It recounts a depressing, meandering day spent at a drizzly seashore by an alcoholic father (Mark Burns) and his six-year-old daughter (Beatrice Edney), whom he periodically neglects and loses track of. Apart from an uncredited cameo by Peter Sellers as a gay shopkeeper, this is a grim mood piece whose potential effectivenessas Polanski noted in his autobiographyis mainly crushed by the inappropriateness of Burns in the lead part. (The secondary castwhich includes Jack MacGowran, Maurice Roeves, Fiona Lewis, Eva Dahlbeck, and Sissie Reingardis a lot easier to take.) Apart from the nastiness of the lead character, it’s hard to see what Polanski had in mind with the script, and [SP???]Heresa’s workhis first and last feature before he settled into script development and TV commercialsdoesn’t provide many clues. (JR)

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