Cliff Robertson funded the production of this picture by himself, essentially buying the Oscar he won for it; though his performance is very good, even he cannot compensate for the movie's sketchy, unpolished feel, a lot like that of a made-for-TV melodrama. As mentally retarded Charly becomes smarter, he also becomes more jaded, and there's an awkward and puzzling association made between superior intelligence and chronic pessimism (when the character unrealistically becomes a super-genius, he deciphers the dark mysteries of the world in what appears to be a mighty brief period of time). The director tries too hard to get creative with the novel (better suited to middle-to-high school English classes), and there's a truly oddball, out-of-place sequence where Charly starts riding motorcycles and joins a cult (just like Easy Rider).
Director: Ralph Nelson
Year Released: 1968