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The Loved One (1965)

Approved | | Comedy | 11 October 1965 (USA)
Satire on the funeral business, in which a young British poet goes to work at a Hollywood cemetery.

Director:

Tony Richardson

Writers:

Evelyn Waugh (novel), Terry Southern (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
1,850 ( 16,582)

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Morse ... Dennis Barlow
Jonathan Winters ... Wilbur Glenworthy / Harry Glenworthy
Anjanette Comer ... Aimee Thanatogenous
Rod Steiger ... Mr. Joyboy
Dana Andrews ... Gen. Brinkman
Milton Berle ... Mr. Kenton
James Coburn ... Immigration Officer
John Gielgud ... Sir Francis Hinsley
Tab Hunter ... Guide
Margaret Leighton ... Mrs. Kenton
Liberace ... Mr. Starker
Roddy McDowall ... D.J. Jr.
Robert Morley ... Sir Ambrose Ambercrombie
Barbara Nichols ... Sadie Blodgett
Lionel Stander ... The Guru Brahmin
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Storyline

Newly arrived in Hollywood from England, Dennis Barlow finds he has to arrange his uncle's interment at the highly-organised and very profitable Whispering Glades funeral parlour. His fancy is caught by one of their cosmeticians, Aimee Thanatogenos. But he has three problems - the strict rules of owner Blessed Reverand Glenworthy, the rivalry of embalmer Mr Joyboy, and the shame of now working himself at The Happy Hunting Ground pets' memorial home. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The motion picture with something to offend everyone! See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 October 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los seres queridos See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmways Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)| Mono (Ryder Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ruth Gordon and Jayne Mansfield were both cut from the released print of the film. See more »

Goofs

There is a rose resting on several books adjacent to the poetry book Dennis takes from the shelf. When he returns from the refrigerator and puts the milk carton on the books, the rose is gone and the books have been rearranged. See more »

Quotes

Dennis Barlow: They told me, Francis Hinsley, they told me you were hung. With red protruding eyeballs and black protruding tongue.
See more »

Connections

References Mister Ed (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Isoldes Liebestod
Composed by Richard Wagner
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User Reviews

Not Much Joy Here, Boy
13 January 2008 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

Maybe in its time this film was provocative and entertaining. The decade of the 1960s was known for its cinematic audacity and spunk, descriptions befitting the film's underlying concept. But what seems daring and futuristic today can look stunningly grotesque when the future actually arrives. And forty years after it was made, "The Loved One" just seems ... bizarre.

We're led to believe that the film lampoons the funeral and burial industry. And part of the film's first half does just that. Here, humor derives partly from dialogue, especially as it relates to burial terminology. Our casket salesman, Mr. Starker (Liberace), explains to the film's protagonist: "I can give you our eternal flame in either perpetual eternal or standard eternal". Then he asks: "propane or butane, Mr. Barlow?" Marvelous. And part of the humor is visual, as we watch the finicky embalmer, Mr. Joyboy (Rod Steiger), trying out various expressions on the loved one's face.

But the funeral and burial industry satire consumes less than half of the film's two-hour runtime. The rest of the plot is a mishmash of assorted gags, skits, and pranks, strictly tangential to the stated concept. You get the feeling that the script was written by a committee. Some of this plot tangle derives from too many celebrity cameos. These actors (James Coburn, Milton Berle, Tab Hunter, and many others) appear in a scene or two, then vanish, to be replaced later by others, none of whom are essential to the plot.

Probably the best elements of the film are its B&W cinematography and the production design. Outdoor scenes at Whispering Glades are visually lush. And the interior is interestingly ornate, although far more Gothic than any funeral home I've ever been in.

The film's casting and acting for major roles get mixed grades from me. Robert Morse as the protagonist, Sir John Gielgud as his uncle, and Rod Steiger as the embalmer are all fine. But as much as I like Jonathan Winters, his performance here, for whatever reason, just does not work; I found it grating and annoying.

If I had seen this film when it first came out, I might have had a more favorable impression of it. And, to repeat, it does have a certain charm, if only sporadic. But so much has happened in the last forty years, and there's been so many changes in America's culture, "The Loved One", for all its intended courage and boldness in 1965, now seems, for the most part, just puerile and pointless.


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