Moviedrome Mondays: Carnal Knowledge (1971)

Since I could not find a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to director Mike Nichols sexually frank 1971 drama Carnal Knowledge, readers will have to rely on Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was May 29, 1994 (read here). I am with Cox on this one in that it never really achieves it’s aims. Despite excellent performances from it’s cast, the emotional drama never really ignites or fascinates like it should.

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer


11 thoughts on “Moviedrome Mondays: Carnal Knowledge (1971)

  1. I haven’t seen this film so I can’t say anything about it.

    A new Alex Cox intro has finally been uploaded to youtube. It’s really been a while. What do you think of it?

  2. Like Steve I haven’t seen this film so I can’t offer any insight. The Sunset Boulevard intro is another great find by Steve. Thanks to both of you for sharing all this Moviedrome miscellanea.

  3. I saw it at the cinema, and hated it. 100% because of Art Garfunkel. WHY HIM? I love Ann-Margaret so much, but Art ruined the film for me. Who ever told Garfunkel he could act?
    Best wishes, Pete.

  4. I hear what you are saying Pete šŸ™‚ Nevertheless, I did love one film that Art Garfunkel was in and I will let you guess which one that is? šŸ™‚ But yeah, I do agree with you that Art Garfunkel on a whole was never really a strong actor and this film is no exception. I also agree with you that Ann-Margaret is the standout in the film šŸ™‚ She was also great in Ken Russell’s Tommy šŸ™‚ Anyway, thanks for dropping by šŸ™‚

  5. Carnal Knowledge is not a bad film Paul, but it does leave a lot to be desired. I was always a bigger fan of Mike Nichols former partner Elaine May, who only directed four films, but should have done much more. I just saw that Moviedrome intro to Sunset Boulevard that Steve linked to and it was a clever introduction considering the aforementioned film’s plot device šŸ™‚ Anyway, thanks for dropping by šŸ™‚

  6. Hey Steve šŸ™‚ Carnal Knowledge is not bad, but it does leave a lot to be desired as I told Pete and Paul S – I was always a bigger fan of Mike Nichols former partner Elaine May, who only directed four films in her career. For me, Mike Nichols best film (and it is a great one) is still his 2003 HBO miniseries Angels in America, based on Tony Kushner’s play from the 1980’s.

    I also replied back to your more recent comment under the Talk Radio entry concerning Dennis Potter, I too agree with everything you said about his greatness and the women he casted šŸ™‚

    As for the Alex Cox intro to Sunset Boulevard, I think it is very clever concerning the aforementioned film’s plot device. Some might be disappointed that it does not follow the transcript of the Moviedrome guide for that entry, but what is one going to do? šŸ™‚ I shall update the Moviedrome Monday entry for Sunset Boulevard right now šŸ™‚

  7. That’s a funny comment about Art Garfunkle: “Why HIM??!”
    I agree! But I don’t know what the one movie was that you thought he was really good in.
    As for this one….it came out when I was 9 years old. I probably saw it on cable when I was older, but I don’t remember much. But I looked it up–it’s a dramedy! I thought it was a straight up drama. “Carnal Knowledge” sounds like a horror film title, actually. šŸ™‚

  8. Well the film I am about to mention is great, but not because of him as much as that of his co-star Theresa Russell and the film’s direction by the late Nicolas Roeg. The title is Bad Timing from 1980. It is a great film, but I warn you, it is strong stuff. Here is a youtube video link to the trailer below

    Also, here is a youtube video link to a Trailers from Hell commentary from English director Bernard Rose, who gives more detail

    Also, here is a youtube video link to a BFI commentary from Mark Kermode, who is a fan of the film

  9. Whoa! Thanks for the links, John! My impressions are: Theresa Russell, who I’ve enjoyed in other films….(and this is only my opinion)….her voice here was like fingernails down a blackboard for me. I’m so sorry. I obviously can’t give a genuine opinion about it without seeing the film: maybe the snippets really compounded what I was feeling. But she sounded so high-pitched and whiny! I guess that must smooth out during the actual entire movie.
    It was also strange seeing Harvey K. there with that weird hairdo, haha. I love him. Almost as much as I love Gene Hackman and James Caan. (You can see a pattern there, right? lol).
    But Art seemed subdued and appropriately creepy in a controlled, understated way.
    Gotta see this in full sometime now. NOW I’m curious!

  10. If Theresa Russell’s character sounds that way in the trailer and clips, that may be because it is implied that her character either suffers from severe depression or is bipolar. The voice does smooth out in the film though – nevertheless, I think the moments that do sound whiny to you comes off as credible for the character that she is playing – she is supposed to be an extremely unstable woman and somebody like that is unlikely to behave in a calm articulate fashion. Her character is not a psychopath, just extremely unstable. Speaking of Theresa Russell, I always had a crush on her šŸ™‚

    I agree with you on Harvey Keitel – I thought the hairdo was weird and cool at the same time šŸ™‚ I also know the Gene Hackman and James Caan connection – A Bridge Too Far šŸ™‚

    I think Art Garfunkel is surprisingly bearable here because he is playing a character, who comes off as aloof (a seemingly common criticism of his performances)

  11. Ah, yeah, I figured it would “work better” for her character in the entirety of the movie, the whole voice thing. I didn’t feel like she was a psycho at all, just sort of the free spirit type, which is fine, but…just the octaves, lol. If I was a guy, I would totally have a crush on her too, along with Lisa Bonet, Kathleen Turner, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, and, of course, Pam Grier, haha.
    But yeah, I can see how the “aloof” thing would work perfectly here for Art.

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