The Balcony (1963)
Wikipedia: Shelley Winters is the madame of a house where customers play out their erotic fantasies, oblivious to a revolution which is sweeping the country. When her old friend, the chief of police (Peter Falk), asks her to impersonate the missing queen in order to reassure the people and halt the revolution, she offers instead three of her customers to play the general, bishop and chief justice, all of whom have died in the revolution.
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In Search of the Early Leonard Nimoy: Kid Monk Baroni, The Balcony, and Deathwatch
[In] 1963 he won a key role in a major film, an adaptation of Jean Genet’s most popular play, The Balcony, and the role offers another reminder of what an ambitious, edgy, and dangerous actor Nimoy was becoming. Genet was one of the most important playwrights in the tradition of the Theatre of the Absurd, and The Balcony made for an unusual feature film. The story focuses on a brothel that offers power fantasies to the surviving men in a war-torn city. Nimoy only appears in the final ten minutes, but his character is important and his appearance is highly anticipated by the other characters in the film. He plays Roger, the leader of “the opposition,” and he serves as a foil to the Chief of Police played by Peter Falk. Reality in the play is relative and situational, so details often seem sketchy, but what is clear is that Nimoy’s Roger is a revolutionary, a rebel, and is considered dangerous.
While most of the actors play their roles with a self-awareness of the absurdity and even hint occasionally at farce, Nimoy appears brooding, sullen, and reflective for most of his scenes, like he’d just walked out of an Ibsen play. He brings a real sense of gravitas to the film—especially considering that he was one of the least known actors in the cast.