There are two versions of John Huston and dp Oswald Morris‘s Reflections in a Golden Eye (’67) — the repellent gold-and-pink-tinted version that was used for the initial release in October 1967, and a follow-up wide release version that used regular color.
I saw the original version at the Carnegie Hall Cinema or Bleecker Street Cinema sometime in ’79 or ’80, and as much as I’d respected the previous experimental color schemes of Huston and Morris (the rose-tinted color palette of Moulin Rouge, the misty grayish tones of Moby Dick), I despised the sickly golden palette (monochrome flooded with gold) in Reflections. It literally made me feel nauseous, and I distinctly recall that this feeling stayed with me the rest of the day and into the evening.
I didn’t “dislike” Huston’s film. I seriously hated it, and was really and truly sorry that I’d submitted. I knew (and still understand) that it was a serious film that was trying to address (i.e., deplore) emotional and sexual repression, but that didn’t help.
Not to mention the vile content of the damn thing — Marlon Brando‘s rigidly closeted Army major, Elizabeth Taylor‘s acidic bitch of a wife, Robert Forster‘s object of erotic desire, Brian Keith‘s easy-going Lieutenant Colonel who’s having it off with Taylor beyond Brando’s gaze, Julie Harris‘s Alison Langdon (Keith’s disturbed wife who’s cut off her nipples with a pair of gardening shears). Talk about your gallery of grotesques!
Audiences felt pretty much the same way about the gold version, which is why Warner Bros. withdrew it and sent out regular-color prints for the wide release in early ’68.
Last year Warner Archive released a double-disc Bluray that included both versions. (Or so I gather.) Right now HBO Max is offering the regular-color version. I tried watching some of it last night; it was half-tolerable.
What films have made HE regulars literally sick to their stomachs and souls? There must be a few.