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The Honey Pot (1967)

 -  Comedy | Crime  -  22 May 1967 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,260 users  
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Inspired by a performance of his favorite play, "Volpone," 20th-century millionaire Cecil Fox devises an intricate plan to trick three of his former mistresses into believing he is dying. ... See full summary »

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(play), (novel), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Mrs. Lone Star Crockett Sheridan
...
William McFly
...
Princess Dominique
...
Merle McGill
...
Sarah Watkins
...
Inspector Rizzi
Hugh Manning ...
David Dodimead ...
Mosca
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Herschel Bernardi ...
Oscar Ludwig (scenes deleted)
Antonio Corevi ...
Tailor (scenes deleted)
Cy Grant ...
Revenue Agent (scenes deleted)
Frank Latimore ...
Revenue Agent (scenes deleted)
Massimo Serato ...
The Pretender (scenes deleted)
Carlos Alberto Valles ...
Assistant Tailor (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Inspired by a performance of his favorite play, "Volpone," 20th-century millionaire Cecil Fox devises an intricate plan to trick three of his former mistresses into believing he is dying. Although the women are wealthy in their own right, all have good reason to covet his fortune. To assist him in his scheme, Fox hires William McFly, a gigolo and sometime actor, to act as his secretary/servant. Fox is soon visited at his "deathbed" by the three former mistresses: Merle McGill, a fading Hollywood sex symbol; Princess Dominique, who once took a cruise on Fox's yacht; and Lone Star Crockett, a Texas hypochondriac who travels with an enigmatic nurse/companion. As Fox and McFly act out the charade, things take an unexpected turn from comical farce to full-blown murder mystery. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You are cordially invited to enjoy a perfectly elegant case of murder!

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 May 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anyone for Venice?  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film opened first in London, some two months before its American opening. At its premiere, it ran to 150 minutes, and almost all British reviews commented on its being overlong. By the time it went on general release in Britain, it had been cut by 18 minutes, and this version is the one shown on television and released on DVD. Herschel Bernardi, prominently billed in the original advertising, had had his role deleted entirely, whilst Massimo Serato appears only for a second or two in Capucine's first scene. (There is a brief and now-inexplicable reference to the Bernardi character late in the film.) Both actors are, however, featured in the cast-list at the end of the film, although Serato's surname is mis-spelled as "Serrato". See more »

Quotes

Merle McGill: I guess it must be hard for you to understand, Inspector, a man like me and Cecil Fox.
Inspector Rizzi: Not hard at all.
Merle McGill: But how can I say it, Inspector... He was my first... man. Somehow you just never forget your first man.
Inspector Rizzi: I remember mine - vividly.
[Merle throws him a curious glance]
Inspector Rizzi: He also got away.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Modern twist on Volpone glows
15 June 2007 | by (Jersey City, New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Coming at the end of a prosperous string of all-star mystery films, THE HONEY POT suffered more from a lame title and timing than anything on screen when first released (an even worse title, "Up Pops Murder" didn't help when the film was first released to television).

The typically superb script and direction from Joseph L. Mankiewicz, from a play by mystery writer Frederick Knott, inspired in turn by Ben Johnson's classic play, VOLPONE, THE HONEY POT could not have had a better cast with Rex Harrison (at the top of his game) as the supposedly super-wealthy Cecil Fox mentally tilting with his secretary, Cliff Robertson, and a nosy nurse/love interest for Robertson, a very young Maggie Smith (younger viewers may be interested to see this very different performance from HARRY POTTER's Professor McGonagall - as well as her amazing Desdemona opposite Olivier's OTHELLO) and a trio of ex-loves, Edie Adams, Cappucine and Susan Hayward all in Fox's beautiful Venetian palatzo (the exterior shots are as gorgeous and the interiors).

A death happens (accident? perhaps murder?) and a Venetian police inspector, Adolfo Celi, enters the picture (lovely side note as his family at home is enraptured with PERRY MASON on American TV more than his real-life work) and the film starts to leave Ben Johnson's Volpone behind and delve into more complex games.

To be frank, this film has long been among my favorites - I have been accused of teaching an entire university course on Mystery Writers just to develop an audience for it. Showing the film at the conclusion of the course, after considering the progression of great mystery writing from Poe to Conan Doyle to Christie, Hammett and beyond, this marvelous under-appreciated work from Knott & Mankiewicz never fails to grab them. It's well worth a look for anyone interested in good literate fun, great performances and writing that don't depend on splatter gore, special effects or CGI.

While the ongoing box-office clout of stars Harrison and Hayward got the film a limited VHS release, it's hard to a copy today - but well worth the search.

Wonderful film...if only it had a better title.


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