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
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 »
Elsa's (Kim Novak's) voice during her tirade against Molly Luther is clearly not hers. It is the guttural deep voice of an older heavy smoker, something that cannot be imitated. And if you look closely you can see that the words are slightly out of sync with Elsa's mouth. See more »
Another piece of yesterday from Robert Aldrich, filthied-up through his askew, slightly campy/slightly too-serious vision. We never know where we sit with an Aldrich movie; he enjoys setting up a comfortable scenario before wickedly pulling the rug out from under his audience. He exposes all the weaknesses of Kim Novak as an actress, brutally letting the puckered blonde look silly (at her expense) and without ever giving her a fair shot at a meaty scene. The opening moments are richly evocative, but they don't last long: Kim (in a mousy wig) hangs out in a dingy apartment in Hollywood, surrounded by old movie magazines. Turns out she resembles a long-deceased movie queen named Lylah Clare and is quickly tapped to star in a picture of the actress' doomed life--to be directed by Lylah's widower husband! Bits of satire, supernatural elements, and symbolism muddy up this stew, though I admit to being engrossed by it all. Peter Finch, as always, is worth watching, and Novak's mere presence is tantalizing (even if her acting is not). Frank De Vol's background score is lush, and I loved some of the set-pieces and overwrought melodrama. As for the ending, I would have a tough time explaining it to anyone, except to say that it is Aldrich's stamp as a director to go over-the-top. Here, he goes a little bit over-the-edge as well. ** from ****
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