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Bert I. Gordon
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Teenaged Susan Shelley is released from an asylum where she's been confined to after the shock suffered over the fiery death of her glamorous socialite mother. Her father has a new wife, who has only married him for the money left to him by Zsa Zsa. Susan is still haunted by her mother's memory, and her step-mother is conspiring with her lover, Maxwell Reed, to trick the troubled girl to lead them to Zsa Zsa's missing diamond necklace. Written by
Traumatized girl returns to the scene of the crime after released from a convent...
PICTURE MOMMY DEAD had the potential to be more than a little potboiler. Photographed handsomely in Pathe color amid elaborate settings, its look is far beyond that of the average programmer.
But two things defeat it: an absurd plot and a dreadful performance by Susan Gordon in the central role as the traumatized victim of a horrible murder scene.
The adults are a little over-the-top in performing--especially Don Ameche, Martha Hyer (looking very glamorous), and Maxwell Reed. No doubt they knew the melodramatic material was so overly meller that it didn't matter much. Hyer at least is convincing as a greedy woman who has only one objective: to get her hands on as much estate money as possible after the death of the girl's wealthy mommy and especially a glittering diamond necklace.
Zsa Zsa Gabor flits about once in awhile when flashbacks permit the girl to remember a few events as they unfolded in the past. She's every bit the glamorous creature she always set out to be, and mercifully is not burdened by too much dialog.
Most surprising is that this wasn't photographed in low-budget style in B&W. Instead, the sharp color photography puts it on a higher level than the script would suggest.
The story lacks credibility as it goes along, becoming more and more improbable by the time it reaches a predictable conclusion.
Summing up: Watchable, but hurt by a central performance that is cringe worthy.
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