The greatest screen couple of all time was undoubtedly Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. In the sixties their parings were no mere vehicles, but great projects indeed. By 1967 they had been pared 6 times already, in movies such as "Cleopatra", "The Sandpiper" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf". But "The Comedians" is not a proper example, because it's a Burton film, he is the driving force throughout and from whose perspective the movie is told, and Taylor is just thrown in the mixture, probably for publicity value. The last film of the short movie career of stage actor and director Peter Glenville, "The Comedians" is written by Graham Greene, based on his own novel. It follows the political instability in Haiti, where the strict regime slowly closes in on the foreigners and all opposer, through violence and vudoo superstition. A boat arrives in Haiti bearing the main characters. Burton is a hotel owner coming back after a stay in New York. He knows Haiti well, and quickly notices things have changed. He is having an affair with ambassador Peter Ustinov's (a shy performance by the master) wife (Taylor). Along with him come Alec Guiness, an old army man who may not be what he appears (in a magnificent performance, the best in the picture), and Paul Ford, a former american politician and his wife, the great Lillian Gish, who seek to invest in the country and make a living there. Quickly they plunge into the realm of chaos and fear the country has become for foreigners. There are assassinations of friends and opposers to the regime, there is persecution and a constant climate of fear. Yet, what appears to be an interesting political movie falls a little short. Probably because the movie is tackled as a book. Burton interacts with one character and then another, and then on to another, in sometimes lengthy scenes, as if they are parading in front of him in turn. Off course that there are ensemble scenes, but most of the time a character disappears until Burton deals with other things, and then, when is convenient for the movie, returns. There are many directions the plot shoots out into, from the rebel underground, to the comings and goings of the crooked police inspectors, to vudoo superstition, to the interactions and clashes of the main characters, in a growing claustrophobic environment. The worse is Taylor, who appears every now and then in a cyclic dialog of "I love you, do you love me?, I cannot leave my husband, I have to think of my son, but I love you, etc, etc", in scenes clearly made to capitalize on their undeniable chemistry. Also, her german accent appears and disappears, I don't know with what criteria. When the situation becomes unbearable, some die, some flee the country and some end up joining the resistance. But there are no heroics, everything is slow, in a movie with strong dialog and performances, but unbalanced action. There are powerful scenes, yes, but all of a sudden you lose 10 minutes with another Taylor-Burton and the rhythm is lost. The end is also too abrupt, and leaves one wondering why it ended so. Maybe because the movie had already reached the 2 and a half hour mark. They should have eliminated one or two characters (Taylor included) that give the emotional side an extra but dispensable kick, and stuck with the political aspects and the powerful ride of emotions Burton displays. That way the movie would have been shorter, with a faster pace, more interesting, and would leave time to explore the end further. Nevertheless an interesting political movie, with powerful performances by great actors (also James Earl Jones), but whose attempt to capitalize on the Taylor-Burton phenomena was its downfall. And Alec Guiness is greatness itself on everything he touches. For his scenes, it is worth it.