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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.


Tony Richardson


Evelyn Waugh (novel), Terry Southern (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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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


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


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Release Date:

11 October 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los seres queridos See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmways Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Barbara Nichols' speaking voice was entirely dubbed. See more »


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 »


Mr. Kenton: [trying to wrestle the gun away from Mrs. Kenton] Take Arthur and run! Take him and run!
See more »


References The Outer Limits: The Sixth Finger (1963) See more »


Pomp and Circumstance
Composed by Edward Elgar
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User Reviews

Uneven Satire
20 June 2000 | by abooboo-2See all my reviews

Really looked forward to seeing this based on the cast and some of the comments posted on this very site - but it was quite a disappointment. Obviously, it's trying to be another Super Bowl-scaled, stinging satire along the lines of "Doctor Strangelove", but it's a mostly indifferent misfire - and by no means terribly funny. (And why is it that with EVERY comedy, somebody will ALWAYS proclaim it's the "funniest movie ever made!"? The truth is, the overwhelming majority of motion picture comedies are at best moderately funny, or sporadically amusing. The "There's Something about Mary's" are few and far between.)

Gets off to a promising start, mostly thanks to the breezily superb performance of John Gielgud as an artistic, contented has-been blissfully employed by some second rate movie studio. The film's best sequence is when he reports for work one morning, walks into his office, finds some stranger in there practicing his golf putting, apologizes happily, then goes and mentions this rather curious development to his slob of a boss, played by Roddy McDowall. He can't for the life of him understand that he's been let go after 31 years, and when it finally does sink in, the look on Gielgud's face as he turns to give the building a grim, parting glance is the overlooked soul of what could have been a much better film.

Good work is also turned in by Anjanette Comer as an innocent enveloped by an L.A. culture of everything as shallow Show Biz (even death); Robert Morley as the penultimate stuffy Englishman (Ambrose Ambercrombie - great name); Paul Williams (!) and Liberace (!!!!!). They make significant, clever contributions, but once Gielgud is off screen (after 20 minutes) the movie self-destructs. Initially, the scenes at the monstrously over-sized, multi-themed funeral home show some wit and imagination, but it soon grows tiresome, as if the film-makers thought that the setting and concept were "brilliant" enough to offset a static narrative (they're not).

And Robert Morse, the lead, is the weakest link of all. He's supposed to anchor the film, but he's a strangely charmless, hollow actor whose only talent seems to have been a sort of obnoxious flippancy. He's a lot like Chris Elliott in that he's never able to find the humanity in the comedy, the way the best comedic actors are able to do. You just don't CARE about his plight, because he doesn't seem to CARE about anything. And perhaps it was intentional, but his British accent is incredibly feeble.

Many of the other big names in the cast are wasted. I mean, why bring Dana Andrews and Milton Berle on board if you are not going to give them anything to do? Jonathan Winters, in dual roles, is okay, but he doesn't project the menace or mystery necessary to play the evil cult leader. Rod Steiger? He tries, but his character isn't nearly as pivotal as he should have been. His Doctor Joyboy is the sort of Frankenstein creation that should have swallowed up the rest of the movie, but it never happens.

Ultimately, the most intriguing themes and relationships are left unexplored and too much screen time is devoted to silly cameos and purposeless dialogue. In fact, it all leads up to a ho-hum ending that is the cinematic equivalent of a shrug.

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