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CIAO! MANHATTAN parallels Andy Warhol Factory star Edie Sedgwick's glory days in the late 60's through her inevitable downfall and the tragic addiction that would take her life only weeks after filming wrapped in 1971.
Perhaps few fans would agree, but I actually find this a more satisfying film than the predecessor, House of Dark Shadows. The script is more interesting--even with all the cuts (depending upon which version of the original script you consult, something like an hour of the final cut running time was excised, and MGM only gave Sam Hall and Dan Curtis one working day to make the cuts). There is still more character development in this film than in House of Dark Shadows. The cast is excellent, with a great chemistry, thanks to the fact that they had all worked together for several years on Dark Shadows as an ensemble before they made this film. Standouts include the young David Selby in the dual role as Quentin and Charles, Lara Parker as the evil Angelique, and John Karlen and Nancy Barrett in minimal roles as the young couple in the cottage. Grayson Hall is, as always, in a league of her own as Carlotta Drake, the Mrs Danvers-like housekeeper. With her elegant wardrobe and sinister glances, Grayson gives this film an alluring atmosphere of lingering evil waiting to pounce upon the bored and feckless yuppies who stumble into her web. Thayer David makes a great deal out of the small role of Reverend Strack. James Storm is pretty much wasted in the role of Gerard. Diana Millay, Clarice Blackburn, and Christopher Pennock have memorable little cameos. The score by Robert Cobert features the beautiful love theme (originally titled "Joanna" and used in the final season of Dark Shadows) which lends an air of wistful romance to the otherwise flat onscreen relationship between Selby and Kate Jackson.
Too bad the harried writer and producer didn't manage to film in the climactic seance sequence; in the theatrical trailer to the film, included on the laser disc version, you can see a couple of brief moments from this.
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