Monday, June 03, 2013


Lloyd Nolan is an old, cranky bedridden shipping magnate; the considerably younger Lana Turner (pictured) is his second wife, Sandra Dee is his daughter, Anthony Quinn is his doctor and Richard Basehart is his assistant. Basehart believes that Turner and Quinn are lovers—and they are. When Turner expresses a desire to learn to drive even though she has a chauffeur (Ray Walston), Nolan becomes suspicious. Meanwhile, Dee is dating John Saxon, whose family's business was ruined because of Nolan. Quinn gets an offer for a job in Zurich and tells Turner that he's going to take it since Nolan remains an impediment to their happiness; Turner becomes upset and talks him into helping her kill Nolan by injecting an air bubble into his hypodermic needle. At first, they think they've gotten away with it, but soon Turner gets a letter saying, "Congratulations on your successful murder." Who knows what they’ve done? They assume it’s Basehart, but could it be Dee? Or even Walston? Or someone else? Unfortunately, when they kill off one of the suspects, another letter arrives. This glossy thriller is quite fun, caught somewhere between soap opera and film noir—though the fact that it was shot in widescreen and bright color works against the noir atmosphere. It's set in San Francisco, so occasionally a scene feels like it came out of Hitchcock's VERTIGO. All the actors are good; though I’m not a fan of Quinn's, he does a nice job here playing against type as a relatively quiet and passive man. Anna May Wong has a small role as a housekeeper. Yes, the overall tone is to-the-hilt melodrama (though it's not over-the-top enough to be campy), but that’s half the fun. The other half is figuring who’s doing what to whom; there aren’t many likable characters which is a bit of a weakness since we're not really invested in anyone being proved innocent, but still, this is 60s era fluff-thriller fun done by pros. [DVD]

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