James Stewart stars as a railroad man hired to secretly carry a payroll despite his suspected connections to outlaws
Resnais' first English-language film is a complex but not especially rewarding exercise. Gielgud plays an old man lying ill in bed, drunk and dying, who desperately attempts to complete his last novel. He imagines or remembers stories of his family - you are never quite sure whether these are real encounters or the product of a bitter man's vindictive mind. Memory and fantasy have long been Resnais trademark themes, so it is easy to see why this material appealed to him.
Mercer's script is dense and difficult to penetrate, and only the exceptional cast save it from getting bogged down in its own pretensions.
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