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. ...
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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
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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. 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
Susan Hayward, Rex Harrison, in a fine Joe Mankiewicz Film
I must admit when I saw this movie I it felt that it was not complete. Sure enough the back story of this film is that United Artists -then an independent film company that was a haven for great independent film makers such as Stanley Kramer, Robert Wise, Billy Wilder, William Wyler made serious cuts to the finished film that reportedly upset both Joseph Mankiewicz and star Susan Hayward. I do not know if Susan's long absences from Production tending to her dying husband in the USA resulted in her role being cut or what. The cinematographer died during production too. Years later Joseph Mankiewicz restored all of his cuts and it is said to be a brilliant film. Mankiewicz films are noted for great dialogue, and this film is missing some of the usual quips made so famous in Mankiewicz films. However the DVD version is the UA version not the Mankiewicz version.
Susan Hayward- always an exciting woman to watch on the screen has little to do, but makes every scene she is in worth watching, however Hawyard's character "Lone Star" ends up dead early in the movie. There is not even one "Hayward scene" where the usually fiery star would dominate a sequence. Capucine, Edie Adams, Maggie Smith and Cliff Robertson give fine support to Rex Harrison and Ms. Hayward. This movie has 4 Oscar winners Hayward, Harrison, Smith and Robertson.
This is the last Susan Hayward movie that allowed Hayward to be considered a superstar, what would follow would be cameos in Valley Of The Dolls and The Revengers,, and two TV movies Heat of Anger and Say Goodbye Maggie Cole before dying of brain cancer at a relatively early age of 57. Years later Rex Harrison would be quoted as saying He and the rest of the Company respected Ms. Hayward who dealt with the loss of her hsuband and carried on so professionally in her role.
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