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The Notorious Landlady
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Notorious Landlady More at IMDbPro »

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28 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Still crazy after all these years

8/10
Author: AndreaValery from United States
20 July 2005

I just bought this video from a reputable company. I was quite surprised to see that it was available - it has been out of circulation for years. One person told me long ago that it had never been put on video. That person was obviously misinformed.

The video itself is not in the best condition. The film is in black and white and there are several moments of white glare, followed by excessive darkness. There are some breaks and pops, just like my old LP's.

These visual defects, strangely enough, added to my enjoyment, for they gave the movie a vintage quality. Indeed, one has the feeling that this movie could have been made in the 1930's or 1940's.

This film is a direct descendant of earlier screwball comedies and screwball mysteries such as the Thin Man. Kim Novak looks at times like Jean Harlow and the scenes of London are a wistful reminder of how very British the city once was.

The clever plot revolves around the question of Mrs. Hardwicke played by Kim Novak. Is she or is she not guilty of murder? Briefly Bill Gridley wrestles with himself over this issue, but his attraction to her gets the upper hand. Hey, what's one dead husband when you're in love?

An unexpected event leads to a zany trial and last but not least to a madcap chase straight out of a Buster Keaton comedy. Lovely Kim really has trouble keeping her hat on as she tears through the fields in pursuit of poor Estelle Winwood.

I found Jack Lemmon in top form, contrary to one commentary posted here. He is completely natural, without the slightest hint of effort. But he usually is this way.

Casting Fred Astaire was a stroke of genius - his presence adds even more vintage, and I mean vintage in the most complimentary sense. He is a real asset and I wish he had just danced a little.

All in all, great fun.

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18 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

This is a movie well worth the viewing.

10/10
Author: bobschwarz27 from United States
16 July 2005

This has got to be one of the funnest movies every produced. Jack Lemmon and Kim Novack are truly outstanding. Easy to follow with twist that keeps you guessing. Kim Novack is the attractive American landlady. Jack Lemmon is the Amertican diplomat. Together they make magic as the plot's twist and turns develop. This is a must see for Novack fans. If you like a good old fashion mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat. and laughing, this is the film to see. Fred Astarie also gives a very good performance. As Jack Lemmon's boss, he to is taken with the charm and beauty of Novack. The laughs keep coming as the the two of them, Lemmon and Astaire, do everything in there power to help Novack in her time of need. If you love Kim Novack, Jack Lemmon, and Fred Astaire than this movie is for you.

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20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Underrated comedy that should be on DVD

10/10
Author: pensman from United States
15 October 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jack Lemmon plays an American diplomat, Bill Gridley, attached to the embassy in England. On his first day in London he rents a flat from a very attractive new landlady, Carly Hardwicke played by Kim Novak. But unknown to him his new landlady has a "reputation" but for what. The dialogue sparkles from Lemmon's comment to Carly's query. you don't seem to harbor any prejudices, to which Lemmon responds; no, after all he is a Democrat from Massachusetts. And from the get-go it's clear Gridley is attracted to Carly but is she single, married,or divorced.

On Gridley's second day he is grilled by his station chief Frank Ambruster, Fred Astaire, who informs him that his landlady murdered her husband. Suddenly Gridley finds himself recruited by Scotland Yard Inspector Oliphant, Lionel Jeffries, to "investigate" Mrs. Hardwicke to see if he can either prove her guilty or innocent. Of course Gridley leaps to Carly's defense especially after Oliphant's hysterical explanation of how women make not only loving wives but exceptional killers.

Ambruster orders Gridley to cooperate and yet after he meets her and is smitten; he agrees that she is innocent. The film is filled with red herrings from titles of bedside reading to misunderstood phone calls that only enrich the comedy and the mystery. Lemmon is great as the would be lover who vacillates between loyalty and suspicion. This film is a classic and deserves an updated release.

This film has stuck in my mind from my first viewing in 1962 because of the chemistry among the three principal actors. And the finale is one of the best of any chase scenes filmed.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Brief description of film

Author: (steve_crocker@email.com) from detroit, Michigan
8 May 1999

Pleasant mystery/comedy with a young energetic Jack Lemmon and an attractive Kim Novak developing a love interest (as expected) while trying to solve the problem of the apparent murder of her husband. Some intriguing plot twists and surprising jumps. Light film provides a nice diversion for an hour and a half especially with the presence of Fred Astaire and Lionel Jefferies.

Unfortunately it does not appear to be available on video tape at the present time.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Lemmon, Novak, Astaire, Jeffries and Gershwin, Great

9/10
Author: Jake Fortune from United States
4 December 2008

I saw this film for the first time on Turner Classic Movies tonight

A comedy set in England with this quartet of leads - Jack Lemmon, Kim Novak, Fred Astaire, Lionel Jeffries - a London cab full of great character actors, crisp and fully-toned black and white photography and a script from Larry Gelbert and Blake Edwards could not have been more pleasant. Gershwin's "A Foggy Day in London Town," washed it in additional wonderfulness. The sequences near the end of the film at a seaside resort in Penzance is wickedly choreographed with actors, camera moves and scoring for big laughs to a live band shell performance of a Gilbert and Sullivan ditty. Everything is spot on, silly to smart.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A Foggy Day In London Town

8/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
5 December 2008

Jack Lemmon, rising young man in the United States State Department hasn't a clue when he rents a room from Kim Novak who turns out to be a fellow American in London. He also doesn't know she's The Notorious Landlady whose husband has gone missing and Scotland Yard thinks she did him in.

Americans in the diplomatic corps are supposed to be scandal free, even more so back in 1962 so poor Lemmon doesn't know what he's walked into. But his supervisor Fred Astaire does and he wants him to leave. But Lionel Jeffries of Scotland Yard thinks he'd make one great unofficial undercover man. So in the spirit of the alliance that defeated Hitler, Astaire agrees.

Later on after a hilarious barbecue scene nearly burns Novak's place down and gets the State Department unwanted publicity, Astaire wants to transfer Lemmon to Tierra Del Fuego, but Novak actually comes up and charms him into letting him stay. So much so that Astaire now wants to play Sherlock Holmes and solve the case himself or at least be Watson to Lemmon's Holmes.

Jack and Kim make a lovely couple in danger, 25 years earlier I could have seen Cary Grant and Carole Lombard in their parts. But when you set out to make a stylish comedy, casting Fred Astaire is always a stroke of genius. Director Richard Quine even had the good sense to acquire Astaire's classic, A Foggy Day from the defunct RKO studio where he introduced it in Damsel In Distress to use as background music. It's used to great affect on one of those foggy London nights where both of them are trailing Novak.

In the last half hour their sleuthing pays off and a rather intricate mystery is solved. Lionel Jeffries makes a dogged and determined Inspector Lestrade like Scotland Yard man, who if truth be told is one of the sleazier members of that organization ever portrayed on screen.

The joint creative hands who wrote The Notorious Landlady were Blake Edwards and Larry Gelbart. Can't do better than that for style and wit.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Trivia in The Notorious Landlady

9/10
Author: sussmanbern from United States
14 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The opening scenes of this movie have, as background music, the melody of the Gershwin song, A Foggy Day in London Town. This, despite the fact that there is no fog in those scenes. The song was introduced by Fred Astaire -- who plays a supporting role in this flick -- in his 1937 movie Damsel in Distress.

SPOILER: The concluding scenes, which include a chase on the beach at Penzance, has background music from the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, The Pirates of Penzance (which was also made into two movies in 1982 and 1983), with a coda from a melody in Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. One other mystery movie in which music from the Pirates of Penzance was significant was The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Kim Novak Superstar

9/10
Author: arsportsltd from Los Angeles
25 March 2013

Kim Novak was a Columbia star and went from a supporting role in Jack Lemmon's great Phfft to co star in Bell Book and Candle to lead and top billed over Jack Lemmon in this wickedly funny comedy mystery directed by Richard Quine.

This was the last movie Kim Novak made at Columbia and ended a legendary relationship between studio and star where Kim made Picnic, Pal Joey, Bell Book and Candle, Strangers When We Meet among others and her declared favorite film Middle Of The Night. Looking at times like the fabled Jean Harlow Ms. Novak reaches the top of the stardom ladder in this film.

To me Kim Novak was what a movie star looked like!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Is Kim Novak a man-eater?

Author: dbdumonteil
2 March 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an entertaining spoof on Hitchcock style,long before Mel Brooks' "high anxiety" (1978),and much more subtile at that.Diplomat Lemmon rents a room in a mansion whose owner(Novak) might be a man-eater.After a slow start,the movie quickly reaches its cruising speed and will keep it till the end.

Many scenes in Novak's desirable mansion are nods in the direction of "rear window".All the neighbors are looking out their windows,secretly waiting for something to happen.A kid warns Lemmon:"My mother says you're next",and he later adds "And my father says so too".And the final is some kind of cross between the chase movies like" north by norwest" and the "symphonic" scenes of a " man who knew too much"(1956) in miniature,as the characters are in search for an old lady among many wheelchairs,during an outdoor concert .Jack Lemmon is wonderful,his comical expressions have influenced a lot of actors,Jim Carrey owes him a lot.Richard Quine's final crazy chase is much more successful than that of "sex and the single girl" ,two years later.

POSSIBLE SPOILER********************Possible spoiler A small flaw:the scene between Kim Novak and her husband is so dramatic that it jars with the light tongue-in -cheek atmosphere of the rest of the show.The same goes for the pawnbroker's scene.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Kim Novak and Jack Lemmon

10/10
Author: miss_meli from United States
10 January 2010

This movie is now out on DVD albeit in Jack Lemmon's collection and not alone but it is a film on a single disc so while not sold separately it should suffice. The print is in excellent condition. I'm only upset that I only just now purchased as I just now found out about it by chance! I had a bad print years ago and reluctantly parted with it even though I enjoyed the film immensely. My top film used to be a tie between Casablanca and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind but now those films have been bumped down to number two and number three. This is now my first favorite film. Is it better than those films-absolutely not-not even close. Those two films are masterpieces. For me personally, those films are films I can't watch too often, maybe because they aren't light films. The Notorious Landlady is a film that requires repeated viewings because of the enjoyable performances. The first time you view it you just want to see what happens, the next time you view it you want to see it knowing what you now know from the first time, etc., by the next couple of times you view it you will appreciate the Novak-Lemmon romance all the more. What I like about their romance is that while its complicated it isn't vulgar nor is it sappy. The music is unforgettable (great love theme for Kim and Jack) and the dialog is excellent and witty. I find myself pausing the film to laugh at lines I didn't catch or get at another time. This film doesn't take itself seriously, which makes it inviting to watch. Kim Novak is perfectly cast and alluring, Jack Lemmon is romantic and sexy. I cannot forget to mention Fred Astaire-this has to be one of his best roles! The supporting cast is excellent too. The film has so much depth, so many layers to peel and enjoy. Its what more films should be like if they can't be masterpieces; they should be like this.

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