Ann Lake has recently settled in England with her daughter, Bunny. When she goes to retrieve her daughter after the girl's first day at school, no one has any record of Bunny having been registered. When even the police can find no trace that the girl ever existed, they wonder if the child was only a fantasy of Ann's. When Ann's brother backs up the police's suspicions, she appears to be a mentally-disturbed individual. Are they right? Written by
Steven uses the fuel from the oil lamp to light the doll's hair on fire; but he should have burnt his hand when pulling off what should have been a very hot glass chimney from the top of the lamp. See more »
She may be a few minutes late. Will you please wait for her?
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The end credits begin with a cut out of Bunny's doll, before a hand replaces the cut out with black paper, and the credits begin to roll. See more »
I'm not a huge fan of Preminger - many of his films from 1950 forward are pretty bad (e.g. "Saint Joan," "Exodus," "In Harms Way," "Hurry, Sundown") or don't date well (e.g. "Man With The Golden Arm," "Such Good Friends").
But "Bunny Lake Is Missing" is a bright spot in his later work. I first saw this on TV back in the early 70's and then again in a 16mm pan-and-scan print - and enjoyed it. But it wasn't until I saw it in a 35mm widescreen print that I could appreciate Preminger's expert use of the widescreen space, which gave "Bunny Lake" added dimension.
"Bunny Lake" isn't a great thriller, but it's a good one. The story itself doesn't rise above a certain amount of contrivance, but the performances are mostly solid enough to keep you glued to the screen until the suspenseful climax. Best are Olivier, beautifully restrained as the chief inspector, Lynley as the frantic heroine, and Martita Hunt as the eccentric owner of the school where Bunny first goes missing. As Lynley's brother whose feelings for his sister are almost incestuous, Kier Dullea does well walking a tightrope between normal brotherly concern and something darker, but occasionally overdoes his role.
Unfortunately, Preminger can't help but indulge his desire to titillate and shock with the character played by Noel Coward. Watching the playwright/actor caress his face with a leather whip handle (a scene not in the original novel, I believe), is a piece of vulgarity that will produce more adolescent giggles than gasps.
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