|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
She's Dressed to Kill starts in New York where Alix Goldman (Connie
Sellecca) has just joined the books of the 'Barton Model Agency' run by
Irene Barton (Jessica Walter), Alix is excited & looking forward to a
career in modelling. Meanwhile Irene receives a phone call from
has-been drunk fashion designer Regine Dalton (Eleanor Parker) who says
she wants to hire her favourite models to put her comeback fashion show
on at her mansion on-top of a large mountain to which all the fashion
industry bigwigs will be invited to. Irene agrees & will go along with
her photographer Alan Lenz (John Rubinstein) & top models Camille
(Joanna Cassidy), Kate, Candy & Melissa. Unfortunately that very day
Melissa is murdered after putting lipstick on laced with cyanide (no
one seemed that bothered by it though so why should we?) so Irene
decides to take Alix. Once there the fashion show goes ahead but during
it Candy is found dead after having used poisonous nerve gas disguised
as hairspray (again, no one really seems that concerned & are happy to
just move the body 'out of the way'), then the power is cut off to the
mansion & the remaining guests are stuck as the cable cars don't work.
It soon becomes apparent that one of their number is a cold blooded
killer & no one is safe...
So, IMDb has been up & running for 16 years & no one has yet commented on She's Dressed to Kill? I guess I have the honour of being the first to comment on this strictly average made-for-TV murder mystery. Directed by Gus Trikonis & written by George Lefferts this is passable entertainment at best, it has a slightly leaden pace, it really isn't that clever even though it tries to be & the obligatory twist ending is actually rather easy to figure out as I worked out who the killer was but I didn't guess their motives which require you to ignore any sort of logic or sense. The film takes itself extremely seriously & is bogged down by lots of dull dialogue, the script does a reasonable job of giving various people motives but when it comes down to it it doesn't need a brain surgeon to figure it out. The main character's are alright & fairly well fleshed out & the dialogue is OK if dull at times. On the negative side at 100 minutes the film goes on for too long & I'd have liked to have seen at least 15 minutes cut out & there's a fair amount of pointless scenes & footage to choose from. The version I watched was actually called The Catwalk Killer which is a much better title & the video box tries to set the film up as a Friday the 13th (1980) horror slasher with the tag-line on the cover saying 'Everyone's Trapped. Everyone's Afraid. Everyone but the Killer...' which it clearly isn't so don't expect any excitement, action, gore or on screen murder. It's more Columbo than Halloween (1978) that's for sure.
Director Trikonis does nothing special & it's all rather flat, bland & dull. It has no style & looks exactly like the cheap made-for-TV film that is most certainly is. There are no on screen murders & no blood or gore, damn those misleading video covers!
It's generally well made throughout but you just can't escape how bland & utterly forgettable it looks. The acting was OK but hardly Oscar worthy.
She's Dressed to Kill is an OK murder mystery, it's not exactly brilliant but there's just about enough intrigue here to maintain one's interest, just about. If you like these types of films then you will probably find something here to enjoy as for everyone else stick to repeats of classics like Columbo, Quincy & Murder, She Wrote.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this a very long time ago on TV, my guess would be edited of any
mature themes. It watched just like a TV mystery movie, Columbo or
McCloud. For some reason, it has always intrigued me, possibly because
of the cast.
Eleanor Parker, Jessica Walter and Barbara Cason (best known for Carter Country) amused me as these rich high society women. The deaths began amusingly enough without being ridiculous, but yea, then it gave way to less interesting murders. By a couple of the last two deaths that I can recall, it had lost its intrigue when it was the models being killed.
Still, as the other review noted, Gretchen Corbett hating models and Clive Revill as the fashion critic added a strange bit of (obvious) hints of mystery. Could it be this one? Could it be that one? It went even further by bringing in a French secretary when her brand cigarettes were found on one body.
Perhaps it was the skycar loft, Parker's self-destructive character and the marooned characters that no, you couldn't have disliked any more if you tried, that intrigued me. At this time, I had never seen Christie's And then There Were None.
Maybe it was the waiting to see if some of the major characters would die (and perhaps hoping they would).
I didn't solve the crime upon watching, it really seemed like a toss up who the killer would be.
Nevertheless, this oddity keeps surfacing in my memory. If I were to see it again, it might just watch like an old episode of Charlie's Angels.
Still it was a corker.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yes, Dame Agatha Christie could have made a tentacular mystery out of
this situation. A dozen or so people in an isolated setting, and
somebody is knocking them off, one by one. Come to think of it,
Christie already has. As I remember, it was called "And Then There Were
None," or, under its original, racist cognomen, "Ten Little N******."
Eleanor Parker is the doyenne of the high fashion world, or at any rate
she used to be. She's terribly rich and now is determined to make a
come back but has become a career juice head. Her name is Regine
Danton, the first phoneme uses a French-like uvular "r". She hires
Jessica Walters' modeling agency to provide the slinky bodies to show
off her new line of clothing -- designed in secret by one of her
resentful flunkies. She invites potential buyers to the big show at her
mountain-top retreat. The vast estate can be reached only by cable car
-- which promptly breaks down after everyone arrives -- or by a
perilous trip climbing up or down the mountain.
The first model, Candy, drops dead after applying some "lip gloss" -- that's "lipstick" to you and me -- that contains enough cyanide to kill an elephant, let alone a skinny young girl. Moral: Never lick your lips. If you have to lick lips, lick somebody else's. The second sylphid expires after spraying her hair with a can of Army nerve gas. Those two murders are worthy of Agatha Christie, but thereafter the homicides turn rather humdrum. There's -- let me think -- a hanging, a bashing out of brains, a neck broken with a single blow, and some unidentified methods as the corpses begin to pile up.
So WHODUNNIT? That's the kind of movie this is, full of television stars and movie personalities on a downward career trajectory. You can't possibly CARE about any of the characters. You just wait to see who will be bumped off next. And principally you wait for the murderer to be exposed.
Is it the lovely Connie Sellecca, with her bland beauty and that nose that seems to have been designed using a set of plastic French curves left over from high school geometry? She's certainly ambitious enough to knock off her rivals. Or could it be Clive Revill, who is "not interested in women" and would like to steal away Regine's hunky young subordinate who does the actual designs? Maybe it's Gretchen Corbett, angry at the others because she's been "fat" and called "a dog" all her life. (I wasn't convinced but then baseness is in the eye of the beholder.) There's a lesbian big-game hunter in the group, and a sullen and stupid would-be rapist too. Well, hell, any one of them could have done it. The arrival of a sheriff helps not at all. He's a little sneaky too.
Why go on? The movie is a shambles. I understand femininity is determined partly by the XX genes of the individual, but this movie seems to be informed by XXXXXXXX genes. If I were John Wayne, I'd protest that this is a movie fer WIMMIN. Where's the Y factor? And actually I couldn't care less about Regine's new line of hand-sewn, crepe-oriented, peplums with just a touch of Oriental elegance in the mixolydian mode. Even if I DID, I wouldn't have been able to see them because all the images are so dark.
It would have been an improvement if the writers had simply turned this mystery into the comedy it so yearns to be. Eleanor Parker's overacting is outrageous. On the phone, speaking to someone she's trying to coax a favor out of, her voice takes on the contours of a roller coaster. She caresses herself, her steely bouffant hair, her arms, her chest. When she meets Jessica Walters -- the two women hate each other -- they spout effusions and kiss the air, mwah, beside each other's cheeks while rolling eyes and wearing moues that are simply delicious in their design and properly accessorized.
Decent acting awards go to (envelope, please): Jessica Walters for not humiliating herself more than the script demands; John Rubenstein for being merely flavorless rather than sickening; Gretchen Corbett for allowing her striking features to be filmed unflatteringly; and Seamon Glass for having the most interesting name. The Big Reveal is the epitome of stupidity.
You know what might have given this extraordinarily sloppy and ill-considered movie some élan? Let's see all those beautiful young women changing their wardrobes, bathing, and whatever else they might do that would introduce some gratuitous nudity. John Wayne would have approved, although he wouldn't have admitted it.
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