HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
12 Hour Shift
Filmmaker's House, The
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
   
 
  Lovely Way to Die, A Keep up with Kirk
Year: 1968
Director: David Lowell Rich
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Sylva Koscina, Eli Wallach, Kenneth Haigh, Martyn Green, Sharon Farell, Ruth White, Philip Bosco, Ralph Waite, Meg Myles, William Roerick, Dana Elcar, Dolph Sweet, Dee Victor, Lincoln Kilpatrick
Genre: Comedy, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jim Schuyler (Kirk Douglas) is a magnificently macho, skirt-chasing super-cop living the high life in the Swinging Sixties. Barely five seconds into the film, he skilfully sidesteps his young girlfriend (blink and you’ll miss Ali McGraw in her movie debut) for a foxy femme at the racetrack, ditches her for another one night stand, then wakes beside yet another ditzy dame the next morning. The man is a machine. Between bagging bombshells, Jim somehow finds the time and energy to administer a brutal beating to a gaggle of mafia types gathered at his favourite restaurant, an act of reckless heroism that irks his superiors and leads him to quit the force. Fortunately Jim is hired by an old pal, fast-talking lawyer Tennessee Fredericks (Eli Wallach) to protect the defendant in a high-profile murder case. Sexy Rena Westabrook (Euro-cult goddess Sylva Koscina) stands accused of killing her wealthy old geezer of a husband and pretty soon sparks start to fly between the sultry femme fatale and daring detective as Jim slowly unravels the tangled murder plot.

As a murder mystery, A Lovely Way to Die is damn near incomprehensible. Repeat viewings have done little to clear up exactly who killed gardener Sean Magruder (The Waltons’ Ralph Waite), what the phoney English lord and his gang of murderous cronies are up to in the mansion next door, or what well-mannered but sleazy playboy Jonathan Fleming’s (Kenneth Haigh) stake is in all of this. At one point, Fleming’s bodyguard roughs Jim up and delivers a presumably significant speech detailing who he is and how he owes Fleming a favour - only to disappear from the story, never to be seen or heard from again.

On a narrative level the film is a total failure, but what makes it so eminently watchable? Two things really, the first is director David Lowell Rich’s flashy style, which indulges tricksy photography, elaborate staging and luscious Swinging Sixties décor at every given opportunity. Rich was a regular television hand from the early fifties to the Eighties and seems to relish pulling out all the stops for a feature film - often to the detriment of his storytelling, but then there you go. He followed this with the cult thriller Eye of the Cat (1969) plus a pair of memorably campy made-for-TV horror movies produced by Aaron Spelling, The Horror at 37,000 Feet (1973) and Satan’s School for Girls (1973), but is possibly best known for directing disaster flick The Concorde… Airport ’79 (1979) where he allegedly behaved vilely towards actress Sylvia Kristel.

The second thing worth relishing are the performances. Kirk Douglas takes a character who must read as despicable on the page and makes him downright likeable. Just look at the scene where he spies a scantily clad Koscina giving him a come-hither look from the balcony and bites into an apple with such lascivious relish you can’t help but laugh. By this point in the Sixties the influence of James Bond was all-pervading, hence Jim Schuyler gets more action in the opening scenes than Philip Marlowe or Lew Archer managed in a lifetime. Eli Wallach is delightful as the canny mid-western legal eagle who has a folksy saying for every occasion. And Sylva Koscina oozes sex appeal. Koscina could really act as evident from her scene-stealing assassin in Deadlier than the Male (1966), her adulterous socialite in Lisa and the Devil (1973) or the amazing rant she delivers towards the end of the giallo classic Crimes of the Black Cat (1972). While mostly consigned to modelling an array of flimsy negligees and bikinis, the actress still weaves a nice line in steamy banter with Kirk Douglas and once again illustrates why sex appeal has as much to do with performance as physical allure.

A film that against all odds succeeds in entertaining despite its deficiencies but one more likely to appeal to fans of Sixties tat than serious cinefiles.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3512 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 star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: