HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Apartment 1BR
1776
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Last of Sheila, The Dying For A Career
Year: 1973
Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Richard Benjamin, Dyan Cannon, James Coburn, Joan Hackett, James Mason, Ian McShane, Raquel Welch, Yvonne Romain, Pierre Rosso, Serge Citon, Robert Rossi, Elaine Geisinger, Elliot Geisinger, Jack Pugeat
Genre: Comedy, Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: A year ago, tragedy struck when Sheila (Yvonne Romain), the wife of Hollywood big shot Clinton Green (James Coburn) stormed out of a swanky party there one night and set off to walk home in high dudgeon. However, she never got there for a speeding car hit her, killing the woman instantly and the driver did not stop to take the blame, it's a mystery that has not been solved though Clinton doesn't seem to have let it change his manipulative personality any. As his circle of friends find out when he invites them aboard his large yacht in the South of France, somewhere they are all eager to visit since he has great influence in showbusiness and could theoretically secure them major deals - but it's not deals he has in mind.

The Last of Sheila could have been such an act of self-indulgence that alienation in the audience may well have been the only result, based as it was on a complex parlour game of whodunnit played by celebrated composer Stephen Sondheim and movie star Anthony Perkins which was designed as a treat for their friends, also in the entertainment industry, when they were over for socialising. This led some commentators to ponder just who the star-studded cast were intended to represent, if anyone, and you could tie yourself in knots without specialist knowledge attempting to second guess Sondheim and Perkins, whose only screenwriting collaboration this was. Better to sit back and enjoy a movie that did its level best to outdo Agatha Christie.

And to an extent if it didn't beat the Grand Dame of mystery fiction, it came very close to equalling her as while movies of her books and stories had been successes, as were various television shows, none of them could ever be regarded as all-time classics in comparison with the text they sprang from, they were at best merely very good facsimiles. In this case, there was no such original book to compare it to, and thus it felt far more like a movie even if it shared various aspects common to the Christie adaptations, such as the starry actors or picturesque locations. But what this had over what could be rather stuffy versions of Christie was an acid wit coupled with a sense of glee: Clinton may be playing games with his guests, but the script was playing games with the audience too, and if anything the latter were more willing participants.

By all accounts this was not the easiest of shoots, with personality clashes and poor weather - not to mention a bomb threat - all grinding down the production, which made it all the more remarkable that something as light on its feet was the result. You might be able to detect that Raquel Welch (as movie star Alice) was not enjoying herself, yet that translated into a rather haunted quality contributing quite nicely to her character, though as far as the actresses went everyone was acted off the screen by a rampant Dyan Cannon, relishing her trashy agent persona and garnering most of the biggest laughs: it was probably her best role and proof she could really attack her work with great aplomb when given the chance, a chance Sondheim and Perkins generously gave her.

Of the others in the party, Richard Benjamin was the writer's block-afflicted screenplay author Tom who is married to Lee, played by Joan Hackett, both of them convincing as a married couple whose relationship is feeling the strain, and Ian McShane was Anthony, Alice's overprotective husband and agent. Adding a touch of class was James Mason as a director down on his luck (he's first seen at work on a dog food commercial), though when you find out what his secret is you may be surprised about how blasé the tone was, not only about the secrets all the guests share, but the fact murder was involved into the bargain. Yet for all the breezy surface, there was a garnet-hard centre to the movie where the whodunnit conundrums Clinton sets up for them to solve barely disguises a streak of sadism in that he is getting everyone where he wants them, just one step away from grovelling for his assistance, and you had the impression The Last of Sheila was more observant about Hollywood connections than it might admit. It has rightly become a cult film, it really is rather splendid. Music by Billy Goldenberg.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2358 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


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 star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: