HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen
Porky’s II: The Next Day
It Happened Here
Giant from the Unknown
211
Top of the Bill
Set It Off
No Way Out
Traffik
Pitch Perfect 3
Insidious: The Last Key
Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, The
Dirty Carnival, A
King of Hearts
Crowhurst
And the Same to You
Racer and the Jailbird
Superman and the Mole-Men
Phantom Thread
Sweet Country
Loophole
Irma La Douce
Brigsby Bear
Wish Upon
Gringo
Finding Vivian Maier
Shape of Water, The
Lady Bird
Endless, The
Universal Soldier: The Return
   
 
Newest Articles
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
   
 
  Penelope kooky kleptomaniacBuy this film here.
Year: 1966
Director: Arthur Hiller
Stars: Natalie Wood, Ian Bannen, Dick Shawn, Peter Falk, Jonathan Winters, Lila Kedrova, Lou Jacobi, Norma Crane, Arthur Malet, Jerome Cowen, Arlene Golonka
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Beautiful socialite Penelope (Natalie Wood) met and married handsome banker, James (Ian Bannen) after a whirlwind courtship of just three weeks. However, it wasn’t long before James’ growing success left little time for his adoring wife, while glamorous women began throwing themselves at him. So Penelope does what any neglected wife would do: dons a disguise and robs her husband’s bank. Between robberies, she confesses all to her appalled, but lovestruck psychiatrist Dr. Gregory Mannix (Dick Shawn), while Lieutenant Bixby (Peter Falk), the detective assigned to the case, is similarly smitten. Penelope gives her loot away to the Salvation Army, because it isn’t money she wants, but attention. The problem is, when the time comes to confess all, no-one believes her.

Ah, Natalie Wood. A feast for the eyes and a heck of an actress to boot. With Rebel Without A Cause (1954), The Searchers (1956), West Side Story (1961) and a string of critical and commercial hits behind her, she was one of the brightest stars of the era. Yet 1966 saw Wood caught in a deep depression, following her divorce from actor Robert Wagner and a failed relationship with Warren Beatty. Producers Arthur Loew Jr, another ex-boyfriend, and Joe Pasternak sought to lift Wood’s spirits by casting her in this light-hearted crime caper.

Indeed, Penelope is so light and frothy it practically evaporates before your very eyes. Pasternak was a dab hand at producing this sort of fluff for MGM, although it feels as if the leading role was written with Doris Day or Audrey Hepburn in mind (particularly the playful dialogue and Givenchy references). After cartoon credits and an appealing, Beach Boys-style theme song (“Picture a girl who walks with the rhythm of a lady tiger”), the film gets off to an amusing start with a brilliant makeup job transforming Penelope into an elderly bank robber. Yet the central joke, that Penelope is so cute and winsome nobody believes she’s a bank robber, is far too slight as are the flimsy digs at psychiatry and the swinging sixties jet-set. The main plot fails to fizzle with enough comic energy, while Penelope’s flashback fantasies prove more fun. Arthur Hiller indulges some tricksy photography, including a neat circular dolly shot, during our heroine’s tenure as a beatnik songstress (unlike West Side Story, here Wood sings for real and quite pleasantly), and an early scene where the teenage Penelope is chased by a lecherous college professor provides the welcome sight of Wood running around in her underwear. Comedian Jonathan Winters cameos here, but trust me, you won’t notice.

The film originally concluded with a post-credits fashion show where Wood modelled more of Edith Head’s glamorous costumes, although the sequence never seems to feature in television screenings. While it’s slightly dispiriting to see a great actress reduced to a clotheshorse, Wood gives her all as the wide-eyed, adorable heroine who gets by through sheer chutzpah, but remains sweet enough willing to confess all to keep an innocent out of jail. All three male leads fall for her. Ian Bannen seems ill at ease, but it’s nice to see him young and suave, before he became typecast in more menacing roles. Peter Falk makes an amusingly diffident detective. He spars very well with Wood, making the film sometimes seem like an atypically glossy episode of Columbo.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3595 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
George White
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
   

 

Last Updated: