Messenger asks a friend to check into a list of names before leaving on a trip. When his plane is blown out of the sky, the matter becomes more serious. As his friend checks into the list, ... See full summary »
Davey Haggart is quite certain of his paternity (even if nobody else is) and determined to emulate his father, a notorious rogue and highwayman. This includes breaking a man out of Stirling... See full summary »
A network of older spies from the West recruits a young intelligence officer with a photographic memory to accompany them on a mission inside Russia. They must recover a letter written by ... See full summary »
China Valdes joins the Cuban underground after her brother is killed by the chief of the secret police, Ariete. She meets and falls in love with American expatriate Tony Fenner. Tony ... See full summary »
This pseudo-biographical movie depicts 5 years from 1885 on in the life of the Viennan psychologist Freud (1856-1939). At this time, most of his colleagues refuse to cure hysteric patients,... See full summary »
Townsend Harris is sent by President Pierce to Japan to serve as the first U.S. Consul-General to that country. Harris discovers enormous hostility to foreigners, as well as the love of a ... See full summary »
In Fort Lamy, French Equitorial Africa, idealist Morel launches a one-man campaign to preserve the African elephant from extinction, which he sees as the last remaining "roots of Heaven." ... See full summary »
Tony Rome, a tough Miami PI living on a houseboat, is hired by a local millionaire to find jewelry stolen from his daughter, and in the process has several encounters with local hoods as well as the Miami Beach PD.
Jill St. John,
A former getaway driver from Chicago (George C. Scott) has retired to a peaceful life in a Portuguese fishing village. He is asked to pull off one last job, involving driving a dangerous ... See full summary »
George C. Scott,
Trish Van Devere
A young woman (Stanley Timberlake) dumps her fiancée (Craig Fleming) and runs off with her sister's (Roy Timberlake) husband (Peter Kingsmill). They marry, settle in Baltimore, and Stanley ... See full summary »
Olivia de Havilland,
Messenger asks a friend to check into a list of names before leaving on a trip. When his plane is blown out of the sky, the matter becomes more serious. As his friend checks into the list, each seems to have died in mysterious circumstances. As he goes down the list, the deaths become more recent and a race to find the remaining survivors and what put each of them on this list ensues. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
According to some reports, Frank Sinatra's heavily disguised cameo appearance in film was actually the work of facially similar actor Dave Willock; Sinatra only appeared at end of the film in unmasking sequence where he peeled off makeup. See more »
Gwendolynne La Doll's address is shown on the manuscript as being on Fulham Road, London S.W.8., and later dialogue describing the location as "the Fulham Road" makes it clear that this means the main street of that name. But this runs from Fulham to Brompton, whereas the SW8 postal district lies across the Thames in districts such as Battersea and Wandsworth. See more »
Marquis of Gleneyre:
Had a brother who went to America once. Canada, actually. Before the first German war. Suppose he's dead by now. Almost everyone is.
See more »
The opening credits are handwritten, appearing as if cut out of the villain's notebook. Also during the credits, several faces of major and minor characters float by. The makeup worn by Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra and Robert Mitchum always manages to be on screen with each actors credit. See more »
Yes, Movies Were Total Cash-In Enterprises Back Then, Too.
John Huston displays an indiscreet lack of subtlety, taxing our tolerance with a somewhat modern English whodunit with an extra publicity stunt: Numerous major Hollywood actors are announced to appear in the film, but are all thickly concealed in John Chambers' make-up design: Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Tony Curtis as an organ-grinder, Burt Lancaster as an old woman, Frank Sinatra as a gypsy horse-trader. Their identities are exposed to the audience at the very end of the film, when each star strips off his masquerade. Actually, only Douglas (by far the most interesting performance) and Mitchum do any real acting beneath their heaps of collodion and crepe hair. The others just walk on to shoot their brief, tacked-on unveilings at a salary of $75,000 each, while being doubled in the film itself. The film even further cheats by often dubbing their voices with that of voice-over actor Paul Frees!
The vehicle for this cash-in is a plot wherein the eponymous writer believes a succession of ostensibly isolated "accidental" deaths are really related murders. He asks his friend George C. Scott, just retired from MI5, to help resolve the obscurity, but Messenger's plane is sabotaged while he's on the way to gather data to corroborate his fears and, with his last lungful of air, he struggles to impart to a fellow passenger a crucial clue. What do you know, the passenger just so happens to be the sole survivor and just so happens to be Scott's old WWII Resistance comrade. They collaborate to probe Messenger's inventory of names, and decipher his puzzling last gasps. Aside from the ones that insult us, more than a few story aspects in the film are akin to The Hound of the Baskervilles, like hounds, the intentions of the killer, the allusions to Canada, and the exposure of the killer using a hoax.
While we discover rather soon who the killer is, the obscurity of his intentions and the anticipation of his capture are enough to keep going, even if not gripped by genuine tension or suspense. Burdened with a rasping, implausible plot, maybe this lockstep adventure should've been set in Victorian times to oblige its villain with an infatuation with costumes, its Edwardian-style consulting sleuth in a bowler hat, and its foul play in a misty Thames Path.
There is something I quite liked, maybe because it took the edge off, made me relax and enjoy the kitsch. Before the haunting trumpet solos of Chinatown, the strange and threatening cues of Alien or the atmospheric strings of Basic Instinct, a comparatively green-horned Jerry Goldsmith shaped an evocative, and purely '60s-kitsch, ambiance out of an instrumental jumble incorporating saxophone, electric guitar, tuba, harp and the definitive eerie UFO-suggestive electronic whistle that creates nostalgic vibes as when we hear it in The Lost Weekend, Spellbound and BBC's Midsomer Murders.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?