While the police investigate the latest in a series of mysterious disappearances of older women, they are led to a matchmaking service run by Mrs. Stanton where the last victim was a client. Meanwhile, the service's newest client, Laurita Dorsey, begins a relationship with Rex Willoughby, an elegant gentleman she met through the service. But neither Laurita nor Rex are exactly who they appear to be. Written by
A rather more faithful version of Colin Watson's British novel (retaining its original title, setting and character names) was made by BBC Television some five years later as part of its short-lived but fondly-remembered "Murder Most English" series. See more »
I remember seeing this in 1972 on television, little realizing as I watched that the reason I was watching had an ironic side. I always was a fan of Rosalind Russell, and here she was playing a rare television movie role opposite two other figures from the 1930s - 1940s "golden age of movies: Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Maureen O'Sullivan. What I did not realize as I watched this brief television film was I was watching the last original production on film of any work by Ms Russell, who would drop all further work projects probably because of worsening health problems (she died in 1976 of breast cancer). Her comic abilities did not fail her here, and were abetted by her male co-star's classy charm.
Maureen O'Sullivan is the owner of a dating service, and Russell comes to sign up for it. We quickly realize that she is typically sharp witted, but we also realize that she is totally unscrupulous - she puts down vast resources and wealth on her application that she does not have. Obviously she is interested in meeting a wealthy man. Soon she gets word that a male member of the dating service, Fairbanks, wants to get to know her. She sees him, and senses charm, wit, charisma, and money...plenty of it. Soon they are a real item, and the two seem to fit well together. But gradually we are let into a second secret: Fairbanks too is a fortune hunter, and he is convinced that Russell is what she lied about - a wealthy woman seeking matrimony.
It becomes a tale of two liars who catch each other. As such it is not a bad television film, though a minor one for Russell (who one wishes had left on a higher note). The cast, which also had Ross Martin as a good natured but suspicious police officer, was a game one, and did not fail to entertain the audience. But the plot required that the two grifters end up trying to cheat each other and discover each other's falseness. Only a third switch in the plot makes the story a trifle more sour, as one of the grifters tries to silence the other one.
It would have been better, perhaps, if the script made them join forces
they fit so well together while dating. The final movie is not a bad
one, but it might have been more charming if it had been better thought out.
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