With alternative rom-coms like (500) Days of Summer (2009) all the rage, a new DVD release shows this trend is nothing new.  In the sixties, when British comedy was synonymous with the lowbrow Carry On series, films like Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966) gained cult status.

Morgan (David Warner) is a recently divorced social misfit whose unstable grip on reality results in his ex-wife (Vanessa Redgrave) seeking a more conventional partner.  Like a petulant child, his bizarre acts of retribution in modish London become increasingly outrageous.

In a stand out role for the versatile Warner, his character has an aggressively mischievous edge as unpredictable as the monkeys he identifies with.  He is as utterly believable in humorous scenes of Home Alone-style sabotage as he is sincere in his character’s mental breakdown.  Therefore, the hilarity gains a touch of sadness, as the ensuing love story is doomed.

While Karel Reisz’s film does feel dated and won’t appeal to everyone, the offbeat plot has an anarchic fantasy similar to TV’s The Mighty Boosh (2004).  As a result, its cult status continues as an early example of a more realistic rom-com with the complexity of relationships at its core.

A Suitable Case For Treatment is out now on DVD. 1966 UK PG 97 mins English

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