The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968)

R  |   |  Drama  |  15 November 1968 (West Germany)
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Reviews: 22 user | 15 critic

A dictatorial film director (Finch) hires an unknown actress (Novak) to play the lead role in a planned movie biography of a late, great Hollywood star.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lylah Clare / Elsa Brinkmann / Elsa Campbell
Lewis Zarken / Louie Flack
Barney Sheean
Milton Selzer ...
Bart Langner
Rossella Falk ...
Gabriele Tinti ...
Countess Bozo Bedoni
Jean Carroll ...
Becky Langner
Mark Peter Sheean
Coral Browne ...
Molly Luther
Young Girl
James Lanphier ...
1st Legman
Nick Dennis ...
Dave Willock ...


A sexy starlet resembles Lylah Clare, a flamboyant star of the thirties, who died mysteriously and tragically on her wedding night gets a chance to play her in a biographical film directed by Lylah's real-life husband (Peter Finch) and history repeats itself as he falls for her reincarnation. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Overnight, she became a star...Over many nights, she became a legend. See more »




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 November 1968 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

La leyenda de Lylah Clare  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although this was her first film in three years, Kim Novak found that she had little enthusiasm for her character. Director Robert Aldrich found it increasingly difficult to elicit a viable performance from her. See more »


When Elsa is speaking in Lylah's voice, if you look closely you can see that the words are slightly out of sync with Elsa's mouth. See more »


Lewis Zarken: [Upon nearing a large greenhouse, while giving Elsa a walking tour of his estate] You might say that that greenhouse is something of a memorial to her. We had a Japanese gardener that used to look after it. Nice little fellow - quiet as a cherry blossom. Worked out here the best part of ten years, then suddenly one day we were at war. And the Government - who know a dangerous man when they see one - gave him a few hours to pack up before they shipped him off to some god-forsaken concentration ...
See more »


References The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) See more »


Music by Frank De Vol
Lyrics and Vocal by Sibylle Siegfried
See more »

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User Reviews

Kim Novak's Star Turn
9 September 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Kim Novak was a real Movie Star with hits such as "Picnic" "Pal Joey" "Bell Book and Candle" "Man With The Golden Arm" " Middle Of The Night", "Strangers When We Meet" and Alfred Hitchcok's masterpiece "Vertigo". After leaving Columbia Kim was offered and passed on "Breakfast At Tiffany's", "Days Of Wine and Roses", "The Hustler" and one that was created especially for her "The Sandpiper" Kim Novak made a few films in a row: "Boys Night Out" at MGM with James Garner, Billy Wilder's "Kiss Me Stupid" with Dean Martin at UA, the very fine remake of "Of Human Bondage" at MGM and Terence Young's frisky "Moll Flanders" at Paramount and was filming "Day of the Arrow" with David Niven for MGM and Filmways and fell of a horse, was injured, and had to leave that picture. Kim Novak then off the screen for 3 years in the mid-60'searching for a great return project thought she found one in a major MGM production as star and title character in "The Legend of Lylah Clare" directed by Robert Aldrich who had just had a sensational hit in MGM's "The Dirty Dozen". The combination of Robert Adrich, the gloss of an MGM super production, and the box office bonanza known as Kim Novak and a superb cast should have produced a major hit movie which sadly was a major failure.

Kim Novak headlines a great cast of two Oscar winners Peter Finch and Ernest Borgnine and they are given great support by Coral Browne, George Kennedy, Valentina Cortese, etc. The first part of the movie is fine, very fine. "The Legend of Lylah Clare" falls apart at the end and believe Robert Aldrich dubbed Kim Novak in some of the latter scenes-against her knowledge- (how could this happen to a major star?) and the film ends weirdly with a dog commercial to this day mystifies me.

Kim Novak astoundingly beautiful and as one reviewer noted 'was as close to perfection in the looks department' and gowned by a great costumer Renie Conley gave it her all and is very fine in this film. Robert Aldrich who knew the Hollywood scene and had a great hit at WB in"Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" fails here. (Aldrich would go on to make a worse movie than this if possible in "The Choirboys" which one sees wide eyed in astonishment on what Aldrich puts on the screen!)

"Legend of Lylah Clare" was supposed to be a great return project for Kim Novak and ended up being Kim Novak's finale as a superstar of the first rank.

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Valentina Cortese Pamela-5
Lylah Clare: Garbo or Dietrich? TheMysteriousLady
Glamorous photos that should be published spotted-owl
Why did Aldrich make this...... Lonixcap
Rossella Falk stole the show.... TheMysteriousLady
Elsa's lavender dressing room spotted-owl
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