5.6/10
297
10 user 13 critic

Savages (1972)

An allegory about humankind progresses from a savage state to a civilized form, that is only a cover for it's innate barbarism.

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Writers:

(screenplay) (as George Swift Trow), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Cecily, a Debutante
Margaret Brewster ...
Lady Cora
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Otto Nurder, a Capitalist
Neil Fitzgerald ...
Sir Harry
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Carlotta, a Hostess
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Emily Penning, a Woman in Disgrace
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Archie, a Bully
...
Hester
...
Asha, The Forest Girl
Eva Saleh ...
Zia, the Child
Paulita Sedgwick ...
Penelope, a High-strung Girl
Lewis J. Stadlen ...
Julian Branch, a Song Writer (as Lewis Stadlen)
Russ Thacker ...
Andrew, an Eligible Young Man
...
Iliona, a Decadent
...
James, the Limping Man
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Storyline

A tribe of primitive "mudpeople" encounter a croquet ball, rolling through their forest. Following it, they find themselves on a vast, deserted Long Island estate. Entering, they begin to become civilized and assume the stereotypical roles and dress of people at a weekend party. There follows an allegory of upper-class behavior. At last, they begin to devolve toward their original status, and after a battle at croquet, they disappear into the woods. Written by Frank Eggleston

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Fantasy | Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

21 June 1973 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Sauvages  »

Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actress Anne Francine was cast as the hostess Carlotta after director James Ivory saw her performance in Federico Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits (1965) ["Juliet of the Spirits"]. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Wandering Company (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Savages
Sung by Bobby Short
Music by Joe Raposo
Lyrics by George W.S. Trow (as George Swift Trow) and Michael O'Donoghue
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User Reviews

 
SAVAGES (James Ivory, 1972) **1/2
30 July 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Having read that this unusual James Ivory-Ismail Merchant production was a pseudo-Bunuelian concoction, I thought I’d acquire it for my long-planned Luis Bunuel tribute on the 25th anniversary of his death (which occurred on 29th July 1983). Now that I’ve watched it, apart from the obvious thematic allusions to ROBINSON CRUSOE (1952), I’d say that it’s also a half-baked inversion of THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL (1962) which, apart from the occasional amusing passage, fails to entertain or enlighten the viewer, much less do justice to its intriguing subject matter.

For being such a radical stylistic departure for them (even at that early a stage in their careers) and the film’s own satirical intent, it might not be as surprising to learn that Merchant-Ivory here engaged two young writers from the “National Lampoon” school – George Swift Trow and Michael O’Donoghue (later also of “Saturday Night Live”) – to pen the script, not to mention the title track! The latter plays over an animated dramatis personae which introduces us to an archetypal assortment of upper-class citizens complete with clichéd monikers typical of Silent cinema (a bully, a capitalist, a decadent, the limping man, etc.). After this lengthy prelude, a curiously-drawn intertitle “The Mud People” plunges us in a black-and-white world of a group of scavenging prehistoric people. We follow their rituals for the next ten minutes or so (including the yearly ‘death by stoning’ of their queen’s consort) until a flying croquet ball unaccountably lands in front of them. The repercussions of this mundane event are, for a little time at least, as life-altering as the monolith had been to the apes in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) or the Coke bottle would be to Jamies Uys’ African bushmen in THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY (1980)…but again, the end result hardly proves itself as enthralling as the former or as funny as the latter.

Admittedly, the interesting ensemble casting of Susan Blakely, Thayer David, Salome Jens, Martin Kove, Sam Waterston and Kathleen Widdoes does work rather admirably where – as inexplicable as the central conceit of THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL itself – we see these brutes coming upon an abandoned mansion in the woods which they start exploring and, seemingly soon after, change into the socialite-types seen in that prologue with the requisite immaculate English diction! The screen also reverts back to color at this point setting the stage for a long society party segment with its typical show of the malaises of the civilized world in this ‘modern’ age (greed, lust, power, jealousy, etc.). Within the film’s context, I guess, the fact that one (or perhaps two) of the guests seem to be in drag for no good reason can be excused but I have to say I was startled to see included towards the end a steamy lesbian encounter in a car which, unsurprisingly, heralds the start of the savages’ regression to their original uninhibited state.


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