Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Courtroom Watch: Witness for the Prosecution (1957)




Watched:  01/10/2022
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  First
Director:  Billy Wilder

Look, I refuse to talk about the contents of this film.  Go into it knowing nothing as Jamie and I did, and you won't be sorry.  

Here's something fun - I've had this movie on my DVR for years, one way or another.  I've been meaning to watch it, and somehow it just never made it to be the next thing I watched.  Which is crazy.  But every once in a while I'd be reminded of the talent in the movie, all of whom I like, and after a recent convo with Laura, thought "man, I just need to watch this at long last."  And then TCM played it around Christmas and I recorded it again!

Directed by Billy Wilder from an Agatha Christie play.  Starring Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Elsa Lanchester, Una O'Connor, and the always impossibly old Ian Wolfe.  

It's basically a murder mystery starting with a suspect (Power) being brought to Laughton, a barrister, so he can defend him when he gets arrested.  Marlene Dietrich plays Powers' wife.  

There's 10,000 words to write about Dietrich, but plenty of others have already done it.  So, go find them. She earned them.  

But, also, delight in Lanchester and O'Connor in a film together again, where, once again, they share no scenes.


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Murder Watch: The Last of Sheila (1973)




Watched:  07/20/2021
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Herbert Ross

What a weird combo of talent on this film.

I recorded this on my DVR when Rian Johnson indicated it had helped inspire the sequel to Knives Out, recently filming in the French Riviera, where this film, The Last of Sheila (1973), takes place.  

I did not know that it was written by Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins - two guys not known for Hollywood movie scripts.  Then, it was directed by Herbert Ross, who you may know as the director of The Secret of My Success or Footloose.  The cast is small, but as in Agatha Christie style, everyone has to carry their weight.  

But what a cast:  James Coburn as a movie producer, Dyan Cannon as a talent agent, James Mason as a director past his prime, Raquel Welch as a starlet with a past, Ian McShane as her iffy boyfriend, Richard Benjamin as a screenwriter seeing his career fail, and Joan Hackett as his heiress wife.

The titular Sheila dies in the opening scene, the victim of a hit-and-run as she drunkenly leaves a party to walk her Bel-Air neighborhood.  A year later, Coburn invites a handful of the attendees to his yacht in the South of France for a week of games, one of which is a game of his own making.

I won't say anything else.  No spoilers.  But the movie is a murder mystery with more twists than an industrial drill.

Go check it out sometime.