Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Loved One|
Actors: Robert Morse, Jonathan Winters, Anjanette Comer, Dana Andrews, Milton Berle
The funeral business gets a giant raspberry in this wickedly wacky, resplendently ridiculous farce based on Evelyn Waugh's macabre comic masterpiece and directed with inspired verve by Tony Richardson (Tom Jones). But the ... more »
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A Great Adaptation
Bruce Kendall | Southern Pines, NC | 05/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is another film that's been secreted away in the MGM vaults that just cries out to be adequately transferred to DVD. Talent abounds here. Start with a great director in Tony Richardson (Tom Jones, A Delicate Balance, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The Entertainer, etc) who is the perfect choice for such a project. Have Christopher Isherwood and Terry Southern adapt the screenplay from a wonderful Evelyn Waugh novel. Assemble a perfect cast, including James Coburn and Dana Andrews, Milton Berle, Tab Hunter, Roddy McDowall, Margaret Leighton and Liberace (unforgettably!) in cameo roles. Feature the likes of Rod Steiger (why didn't he try more comedy? He's brilliant here!), John Gielgud, Jonathan Winters in memorable supporting roles and top it off with excellent leads in Robert Morse and Anjanette Comer (both relative unknowns at the time, but perfect for the roles).
How could the movie not be memorable? Suffice it to say it holds up amazingly well after almost 40 years. It has to rank as one of the great classic comedies of the sixties. The plot revolves around a young English twit named Dennis Barlow (Morse) who shows up at his uncle's (Gielgud's) doorstep, having won his air passage to LAX through some absurd stroke of luck. He has no money and his gregarious uncle takes him in and introduces him to the expatriated Brits that inhabit LA. Chief among these is the snobbish Sir Ambrose Abercrombe (Morley) who takes an instant dislike to Barlow, whom he feels doesn't adequately represent the proper English gentleman (and he doesn't). In short order, Uncle Francis is canned by his crass Hollywood Studio boss (McDowall), in spite of the fact that he has been a faithful employee for 30 years. Unwilling to face the future at his advanced age, Uncle Francis hangs himself beside the decrepit pool that represents his sagging fortunes.
It's at this stage that the movie shifts satirical gears and the humor gets darker and darker. Waugh's study of American mores and materialistic mindset as represented by the funeral industry is brilliantly captured by the screnwriters, director and cast. It's a great ensemble effort from a once in a lifetime creative team. THE LOVED ONE deserves a broad DVD release, hopefully in the not too distant future.BK"
Black comedy? The darkest.
jim yoakum | USA | 12/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brilliant. Disturbing. Perplexing. Hilarious. Neglected. Screenwriter Terry Southern (with the equally brilliant Christopher Isherwood) are the true stars here, having drafted and crafted a movie that's both truly disturbing and hilarious. One of Southern's finest film scripts (a worthy equal to his Dr Strangelove and Easy Rider scripts), The Loved One is an unjustly ignored and forgotten gem from a time when smart comedies were not only critically lauded but publically applauded. Demand the release on DVD!"
Nothing Much to Add...
Wayne A. | Belfast, Northern Ireland | 05/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In a parallel universe this is a flick that's as well known as Strangelove or The Producers. Yes, Steiger should have done more comedy--he's incredible in this movie.I write this with the hope that someone out there is adding up the votes for a DVD release. I'll also add that the long out of print "Catalogue of Cool" dubbed 1962 " The Last Good Year." After that...well, we lost a lot of our wit, charm, whimsy, humanity, and creativity to Viet Nam, Watergate, and all the other dreariness--from Reaganism to Political Correctness--that led up to this uniquely ugly moment in history. There were a lot of sharp films made in the late Fifties to early Sixties that had qualities sadly lacking since--check out Wilder's "One, Two, Three" or "Inherit the Wind." One reviewer notes that "The Loved One" is black comedy without the nihilism. I agree and that's kind of what I mean. This era of film deserves a re-examination and we could all probably learn a lot from it."
HEADING INTO THE RAINBOW, narrowly missing Kansas...
Wayne A. | 08/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It kind of Dorothy territory - this one is - No one knew [AND maybe still doesn't] how to handle this expose penned lovingly by the late EVELYN WAUGH this is a black, dry. satire of Hollywood, then and NOW, seen through the eyes of a young man [Everyman, with Eyes Wide Open] - Robert Morse. The Young man is new to the USA visiting his movie uncle, played by John Gielgud, vaguely reminiscent of the late James Whale [there is THAT pool sequence]. EVERYTHING seems to happen poolside. Astounding performances by Margaret Leighton, Tab Hunter, Liberace, Rod Steiger, etc. it's quite a carnival, culminating in the world's first "Instant Resurrection" [there is that sinister Whispering Glades Mortuary]. [Watch out for the graveside eulogy by Morse]. It is silly to reveal more, just enjoy this one, it covers everything from sperm donors [very contemporary today] to refrigerator wrestling [figure that one] to 100% proof embalming. Superb directing by Tony Richardson ["Tom Jones", "Blue Sky"] who also "ended" here in town, another talent sorely missed by all.And what is learnt? A damn good ride through Tinseltown - should be patented!"