Eating Raoul Screen 6 articles

Eating Raoul


Eating Raoul Poster
  • The Blands' hypocritical disdain for all things libidinous plays as broadly wink-wink as their surname; it's like watching not-so-sacred cows get tipped by drunken college freshmen.

  • Paul Bartel's sweet-spirited comedy of murder (1982) is almost literally a home movie, filmed on weekends when the cast and film stock were available. It isn't completely successful, but it's funny and personal enough—Bartel manages to open a niche between the esoterics of independent filmmaking and industrial Hollywood product... Engendering warmth in a very cold context, it's the most likable black comedy I know.

  • The splendiferous wardrobes and mod set pieces (Paul and Mary’s apartment is decked out like a Westwood vintage store), in fact, make Eating Raoul a “black” comedy in theory only. The term “gallows humor” is slightly more accurate, if only because a hippie played by Ed Begley Jr. is asphyxiated with his own neck beads, but what both of those epithets miss is the true target of Bartel’s mordant wit.

  • Eating Raoul, one of the most bizarrely sophisticated movies ever made, is far from ordinary. No, it’s not Lubitsch—but it’s not quite John Waters either. What director-star-writer Paul Bartel and his chief collaborators serve up is a “comedy of murders” (as Chaplin called his Monsieur Verdoux) that neatly mixes the crisp politesse of the Ealing Studios classic Kind Hearts and Coronets and the savage black humor of The Loved One, with a soupçon (as the title clearly indicates) of Sweeney Todd.

  • Considering the circumstances surrounding its production, it is safe to assume that Eating Raoul represents Bartel’s own unadulterated and uncompromising vision. The film is in fact a ferocious and vitriolic take on the American Dream in the guise of a very black comedy starring Bartel himself and former Wahrol’s starlet Mary Woronow.

  • Alongside Bartel himself as would-be vintner Paul Bland, his frequent co-star and collaborator Mary Woronov gives her most iconic performance (Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized” video notwithstanding) as wife Mary, a statuesque nurse ripped from the ripe cover of a dime store pulp novel... [Bartel chooses] to glorify Paul and Mary as shining examples of both American ingenuity and American depravity.

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