The Ninth Configuration

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Overview

William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist, proved a workmanlike producer/director for 1979's The Ninth Configuration. Army psychiatrist Col. Kane Stacy Keach teetering on the sanity brink himself tries to minister to the patients in a military mental hospital. The fact that the hospital is located in a brooding old castle is hardly conducive to speedy recoveries. Nor does the mid-film barroom brawl indicate that Kane's approach to mental health is all that workable. Blatty adapted the screenplay for The Ninth ...
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Overview

William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist, proved a workmanlike producer/director for 1979's The Ninth Configuration. Army psychiatrist Col. Kane Stacy Keach teetering on the sanity brink himself tries to minister to the patients in a military mental hospital. The fact that the hospital is located in a brooding old castle is hardly conducive to speedy recoveries. Nor does the mid-film barroom brawl indicate that Kane's approach to mental health is all that workable. Blatty adapted the screenplay for The Ninth Configuration from his own novel Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane which also served as the film's title during one of its many releases. It is hard to tell if what you're going to see is the "director's cut," since there are several versions of this film, running anywhere from 99 to 140 minutes.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This odd but fascinating film is not for every taste, but those willing to accept its challenging style will find themselves rewarded with a one-of-a-kind film that is both impassioned and inventive. Films like The Ninth Configuration are the reason the genre of "cult movie" was invented: its constantly twisting plot line incorporates elements of the psychological thriller, the social satire, the surrealist comedy, and the allegorical tale without ever fully giving itself over to one style. Writer/director William Peter Blatty further ups the artistic ante by populating his tale with a rogue's gallery of rich, flamboyantly crafted characterizations and giving these characters stunning dialogue that combines heady artistic references, masterfully timed comic zingers, and some surprisingly incisive and heartfelt discourse on religious and philosophical matters. It's the kind of story that could have chased its tail into pretentious oblivion, yet The Ninth Configuration manages to remain grounded thanks to the thorough sense of craftsmanship that all its participants bring to the table. Blatty's direction manages to be stylish without ever feeling obtrusive; he uses Gerry Fisher's darkly atmospheric cinematography to wrap the tale in artful but unobtrusive compositions that give the story room to unfold, but uses sharp editing to maintain a carefully modulated pace that deftly traverses the story's multiple twists. Blatty also gives his actors the freedom to combine humor and heartache in equal measure to flesh out their roles, a tactic that handsomely pays off in a series of unforgettable performances. Scott Wilson combines Groucho Marx-style comedic timing with righteous anger to make his tormented astronaut character feel real, Ed Flanders is alternately witty and moving as the hospital's eccentric but devoted doctor, and Stacy Keach utilizes everything from Buddha-like calm to volcanic range to make Colonel Kane a truly unforgettable protagonist. There are also a variety of scene-stealing supporting turns, two of the biggest standouts being George DiCenzo as a patient with an array of personalities and Steve Sandor as the unhinged biker whose brutal actions kick-start the film's final act. In short, the eccentric and challenging nature of The Ninth Configuration might put some viewers off, but its barrage of thought-provoking ideas and rich craftsmanship make it well worth the effort for adventurous viewers.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/1/1998
  • UPC: 085391441434
  • Original Release: 1979
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Stacy Keach Col. Kane
Scott Wilson Capt. Cutshaw
Ed Flanders Col. Fell
Jason Miller Lt. Reno
Neville Brand Maj. Groper
Moses Gunn Maj. Nammack
George DiCenzo Capt. Fairbanks
Robert Loggia Lt. Bennish
Joe Spinell Spinell
Alejandro Rey Lt. Gomez
Tom Atkins Sgt. Krebs
Steve Sandor First Cyclist
Richard Lynch Second Cyclist
Bill Lucking Highway Patrolman
David Healy 1st General
Tom Shaw Priest
Bruce Boa Sergeant in Combat Shack
Bobby Bass Driver
Mark Gordon Sergeant Gilman
Technical Credits
William Peter Blatty Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Tom Bronson Costumes/Costume Designer
Battle Davis Editor
Gerry Fisher Cinematographer
Sydney Ann Kee Set Decoration/Design
Peter Lee-Thompson Editor
Andrew London Sound/Sound Designer
William Malley Production Designer
William Paul Executive Producer
Tom Shaw Associate Producer, Asst. Director, Producer
Roberto Silvi Editor
Barry De Vorzon Score Composer
Marvin Wallowitz Sound/Sound Designer
Dennis Washington Production Designer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2000

    original title bestever

    i saw the movie ''Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane'' in 1979 in Dallas, Texas. Went to Dallas from Oklahoma City for the express reason of seeing this movie, knowing that it would never surface in OKC. The movie was dynamic and I had to see it once more. The movie was a financial flop and was removed from existance. Was thrilled to hear that it was made into a video under its new name. Cannot wait to see the video and hope that it is exactly the same. Stacey Keach was wonderful in the movie. In my opinion, the new title is not near as interesting as the original. Hope everyone has the chance to see the movie. It is worth the effort. nbw

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