HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon
Benediction
Nezha Reborn
Evil Toons
Worst Person in the World, The
Whirlpool
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Revolver
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Faye
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Saint-Narcisse
Souvenir Part II, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue 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 3712 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 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
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: