At first I only wanted to watch "Happy Mother's Day, Love George" because it was in my personal top three of 70s movies with the coolest sounding titles (alongside "Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things" and "Whoever Slew Aunte Roo?"), but as soon as I got a good look at the names involved in the cast & crew I got even more intrigued by this curious mixture between mystery, melodrama and raw horror! The film was directed (and produced) by none other than Darren McGavin; the one and only lead star of the cult series "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" and several other TV hits. This was the only long-feature film that Carl Kolchak directed, which is a bit of a shame since he doesn't do such a bad job at all. The script was penned down by Robert Clouse, who made a few legendary Kung-Fu classics starring Bruce Lee ("Enter the Dragon", "Game of Death") but also a handful of severely underrated horror and thriller flicks like "The Pack", "The Ultimate Warrior" and "Deadly Eyes". The cast is possibly even more dazzling, with the pairing of movie queens Cloris Leachman and Patricia Neal, but also Simon Oakland, writer Roald Dahl's daughter Tessa, pop-singer Bobby Darin (in one of his last appearances before his untimely death) and a still very young Ron Howard (decades before he became one of Hollywood's most acclaimed directors himself). So, in case you're even just remotely interested in versatile ensemble casts, this film is worth tracking down! But there's more, as "Happy Mother's Day, Love George" is also a compelling and pleasantly deranged '70s shocker. Admittedly the first full hour is slow-paced and rather uneventful, but I guarantee that your patience will be rewarded with a virulent albeit easy to predict finale. Ron Howard plays the timid young stranger Johnny Hanson who arrives at a small fisherman's town in search of his long lost parents. From the very first moment he sets foot into Ronda Carlson's diner restaurant, she knows that Johnny is her son but she keeps her mouth shut. For you see, Johnny's conception led to a giant family feud, as the father was the husband of Ronda's sister Cara and he George died shortly after in mysterious circumstances. Whilst wandering around town, Johnny also meets Cara's daughter Celia and she promptly gets a crush on him, not knowing he's her half-brother. Meanwhile, the little town is also plagued by several mysterious disappearances of male inhabitants. Is there a connection? Well, sure there is! As far as I was concerned, the totally bonkers finale more than enough compensated for the slow and dullish start. Besides, the slow start gives you the opportunity to enjoy the acting performances. It's too bad that Bobby Darin's role is small and insignificant, because a more outrageous role so close before his death would have made him even more immortal. The denouement (as in: the revelation of the killer's identity) is fairly obvious and not at all surprising, but don't let this ruin the fun.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?