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

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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 »


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 »


Barney Sheean: I make movies, not films!
See more »


References Lola Montès (1955) See more »


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

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User Reviews

too competent to be camp
16 August 2001 | by (Weaverville, NC) – See all my reviews

THE LEGEND OF LYLAH CLARE looks initially like some sort of camp classic. Don't expect a companion piece to VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, however. Kim Novak plays a mousy aspiring actress picked to portray Lylah Clare, a Marlene Dietrich/Greta Garbo-type screen goddess from Hollywood's golden era who died tragically 30 years before, in a screen version of her life. Under the tutelage of Peter Finch, Lylah's director and husband, Novak is transformed physically and psychologically into the screen star. Along the way, we're treated to three different versions of Lylah's death(kitschy flashbacks in watery black and white framed with lurid red borders, with Novak's close-up in the corner of the screen), a great bitch-out scene between Novak as Lylah and a crippled gossip-columnist hag based on Louella Parsons, a lesbian drama coach, and Novak spouting dubbed, throaty, German-accented dialogue. The make-up job on Novak to make her look like Lylah really doesn't reflect 1930s movie glamour; with her teased and bleached bob, frosted pink lips, and inch-thick eyeliner, she looks more like Dusty Springfield than Jean Harlow. Despite all this, the film isn't some out-of-control camp fest. Really. No scenery chomping, bad dubbed singing sequences, emotional breakdowns, down-and-dirty catfights, or the like. The only fault with a performance might be with Novak during her fits when she impersonates Lylah, throwing her head back to laugh maniacally in that throaty, faux-Garbo accent. Still, its the only real fault in an otherwise competent film. Aldrich is hardly subtle with his digs at the Hollywood system and corruption, but they come out during the course of his characters' conversations and aren't sensationalized. Too many good performances and sympathetic characters to keep it from being an all-out guilty pleasure, but still engaging

23 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Valentina Cortese Pamela-5
Lylah Clare: Garbo or Dietrich? TheMysteriousLady
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Rossella Falk stole the show.... TheMysteriousLady
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