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The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968)

6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 729 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 14 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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(teleplay), (teleplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968)

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Cast

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

Storyline

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

Plot Keywords:

actress | hollywood | star | director | death | See more »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 November 1968 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

La leyenda de Lylah Clare  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Hugo Butler - a longterm associate of Robert Aldrich - was suffering from failing health when the film was being made and never lived to see it released. See more »

Goofs

After Bart throws the ball through the window glass, every later shot that has the window visible shows no hole or broken glass. Further, the sound of the glass breaking is too late after the ball is thrown. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

References Rebecca (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
The awfulness becomes riveting - one of the great worst movies

Robert Aldrich had a solid career which includes some extremely fine work such as "Kiss Me Deadly" and "The Big Knife" from his early period. He handled large action movies ("The Dirty Dozen") with the same craftsmanship as small .intimate pieces, ("The Killing of Sister George"). In both "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" and perhaps his most famous movie "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane", there is a definite camp touch which is carefully controlled in that it never derails the proceedings but only adds much to the general enjoyment of these films as a whole.

"The Legend of Lylah Clare" is a film that cannot be derailed, since from the very first frame it's clearly out of control. What proceeds is a very bumpy ride indeed. The question that remains is just how much of this was intentional. Can one consciously make actors perform so ludicrously, and if so, just what is the point ? It's seems totally unfeasible that a director with Aldrich's record should allow these poor actors to humiliate themselves in having to deliver the most preposterous dialog imaginable. Perhaps it's his hate letter to Hollywood. Aldrich who steered clear of the tyranny of Hollywood by establishing his own production company, paints a truly crass portrait of the movie industry. The point is that this is not an intelligent, witty or biting take on the industry, it's simply a grotesque movie which really has to be seen to be believed. Actors with vast experience such as Peter Finch and Ernest Borgnine are made to look like total amateurs in the business. And then there's Kim Novak. (One can only wonder what Tuesday Weld made of the role in the original television version.) Perhaps one should not be too surprised that this was her last American movie, and the signal of the beginning of the end of her somewhat shaky career.

Novak was apparently thrust into stardom far too fast. Her radiant screen presence may have been captivating but there was little real talent behind the looks. What she did exude was a vulnerability which seems to be founded on her justified lack of confidence as an actress. Columbia groomed her as a potential new Marilyn Monroe. But no matter what dark complexes were lurking beneath Monroe's screen presence, she always made us believe she was having a ball. That was her genius. Novak always seems uncomfortable and decidedly awkward. It's something that at times may have worked in her favor, but ultimately her lack of having what it really takes could not be disguised. Lylah Clare is a role that many a Hollywood actress of the time could really have sunk their teeth into. Novak simply does not have a clue what to do with it and director Aldrich leaves her stranded.

The awfulness of this movie becomes riveting in itself. You'll probably want to see it through to the end. One of the greatest worst movies of all time.


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