Fast climbing Arthur Tate rose to his fame, wealth and respectability quickly from a beginning as a naive constable His rise was also due to 3 women: dressmaker Violet Lawson, Lily, the ...
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Fast climbing Arthur Tate rose to his fame, wealth and respectability quickly from a beginning as a naive constable His rise was also due to 3 women: dressmaker Violet Lawson, Lily, the Baroness von Lukenberg, and movie producer Marigold Marado, His rise was also due to Mrs. Tate, who always seemed to have an extra bit of information which would make her suggest to the people that her son Arthur be provided a position where he could do more good. Perhaps Mrs. Tate had a grander plan for herself.Written by
The cast is intriguing, with Shirley Jones, Stella Stevens, and Honor Blackman playing three femmes fatales and British character actor Lionel Jeffries pulling an Alec Guinness ("Kind Hearts and Coronets") or Peter Sellers ("Dr. Strangelove") by playing several different roles.
The production values aren't up to par for an MGM release, as the film has a low-budget British feel. But despite its shortcomings, THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS (1965) is a fairly amusing black comedy.
Arthur Tate (James Booth) lives by his mother's advice to have faith in people and not go looking for evil. And that blind faith has carried him up to positions of wealth and power. Or so he thinks. The true secret to Arthur Tate's success in life is his naïvité, coupled with his clever mother's gift for persuasion (extortion?).
Throughout his various careers, Tate encounters beautiful women who may not be the innocent victims they'd have him believe. Does Stella Stevens know more about her husband's disappearance than she lets on? Is Honor Blackman telling the truth about the mutant spiders? Is Shirley Jones really only staging a political coup for a movie? Tate is willing to give the beautiful women the benefit of the doubt.
Tate's mother (Amy Dalby), however, sees through the lapses in her son's logic and pulls some strings behind-the-scenes to secure him the promotions and transfers he attributes to his faith in human goodness.
The movie is cheap-looking and pretty silly (spiders the size of St. Bernard dogs!), but I give it the benefit of the doubt for knowing how silly it is (unlike some schlocky low-budget flicks). This is an off- beat British comedy about murderesses, potentially mad scientists, blackmail, giant spiders, bloodless revolutions, bodies in the cellar, and corpses under the sofa.
The three leading ladies look wonderful: Stevens as a redhead, Blackman her usual blonde, and Jones as a brunette. They have Tate and just about every other male character eating out of their hands, as femmes fatales often do. (Interestingly all three women play characters named after flowers: Violet, Lily, and Marigold.)
Jeffries is always recognizable in his various guises, but it doesn't get in the way of the film.
The ending of the movie is a nice touch of black comedy, proving yet again that Mrs. Tate's advice is rubbish: people should NOT be trusted.
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