A Day At The Beach
Roman Polanski wrote the screenplay for this searing portrayal of the aftermath of alcoholism starring Mark Burns as Bernie, a silver tongued wanderer with a fondness for drink and no clear goal in life. What was supposed to be a day of fun at the seaside turns to dust as he drinks his way through a seaside resort community, trailing his little niece Winnie (Beatie Edney). Once the alcohol starts flowing, all physical and emotional stability begins to crumble - and it isn't pretty.
A pretentious, obnoxious alcoholic spends the rainy day at the beach, getting increasingly drunk, with his estranged crippled daughter. A difficult watch as it moves episodically between tiresome scenes of people getting drunk and fascinating vignettes of everyday life. Worthy of note for Polanski's involvement, before leaving after Tate's death, a fabulous cameo from Peter Sellers (billed as A Queen) and being a 'lost' film for over twenty years. Could, also, easily be an inspiration on Withnail & I.
Being a great fan of European cinema in the early 60s, I loved Polanski’s, Knife in the Water, Repulsion and Cul-de-Sac but was initially very disappointed with the full on colour film, Rosemary’s Baby. Having now seen the most impressive A Day At The Beach which should have been released before Rosemary’s Baby, I would certainly have been happier back then if the order of release had not been so drastically changed by circumstances. This great little film is much more akin to the director’s early b/w features, although this is in colour, and is bleak indeed. Seemingly shot in a single day in the pouring rain on some desolate Danish beach we spend some time with a little girl…