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Monkeys in the Attic: A Film of Exploding Dreams

(Des singes dans le grenier)

Year: 1974
Language: English
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 79 min
Director: Morley Markson
Producer: Morley Markson
Writer: John Palmer, Morley Markson
Cinematographer: Henry Fiks
Editor: Eric Johannessen, Morley Markson
Sound: Billy Nobels
Music: John Wyer
Cast: Jackie Burroughs, Victor Garber, Louis Grande, Jim Henshaw, Jess Walton
Production Company: Morley Markson and Associates
Monkeys in the Attic A Film of Exploding Dreams centres on two couples living in a sumptuously kinky Toronto household. The clowning and crazy Wanda (Jackie Burroughs) and Eric (Victor Garber) are wild in fantasy and sexuality, while Elaine (Jess Walton) and Frederick (Louis Del Grande) appear to be on the verge of separation; tired of Frederick’s bullying, Elaine retreats into a world of alcohol and pills, resenting Frederick and the freakiness of the other couple. When a pizza delivery boy (Jim Henshaw) arrives, he is lured into Elaine’s bathtub and then dumped into the backyard pool. His boss phones at the end, bringing the fantasy back to reality.

Morley Markson’s third feature is as carefully conceived and structured as his others, a precisely modulated and often funny exploration of the clash of egos caught up (in a similar way to Markson’s Breathing Together) in the battle between “a dead culture and a live culture.” Though some critics found Monkeys in the Attic a bad amalgam of Fellini, Buñuel and Bergman, it stands as the clearest expression of Markson’s sensibility. It won an award as best foreign film at the Rencontre internationale du jeune cinema in Toulon in 1974, but had only a limited commercial release.

By: Peter Morris