6.9/10
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The Honey Pot (1967)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime | 21 May 1967 (USA)
In Venice, a millionaire hires an actor to help him prank three greedy ex-girlfriends into thinking he's dying and leaving his fortune to one of them.

Writers:

Frederick Knott (play), Thomas Sterling (novel) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rex Harrison ... Cecil Fox
Susan Hayward ... Mrs. Sheridan
Cliff Robertson ... William McFly
Capucine ... Princess Dominique
Edie Adams ... Merle McGill
Maggie Smith ... Sarah Watkins
Adolfo Celi ... Inspector Rizzi
Herschel Bernardi ... Oscar Ludwig (scenes deleted)
Massimo Serato ... The Pretender (scenes deleted)
Hugh Manning Hugh Manning ... Volpone
David Dodimead David Dodimead ... Mosca
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Antonio Corevi Antonio Corevi ... Tailor (scenes deleted)
Cy Grant Cy Grant ... Revenue Agent (scenes deleted)
Frank Latimore ... Revenue Agent (scenes deleted)
Carlos Alberto Valles Carlos Alberto Valles ... Assistant Tailor (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Inspired by a performance of his favorite play, "Volpone," twentieth century millionaire Cecil Fox (Sir Rex Harrison) devises an intricate plan to trick three of his former mistresses into believing he is dying. Although the women are wealthy in their own right, all have good reason to covet his fortune. To assist him in his scheme, Fox hires William McFly (Cliff Robertson), a gigolo and sometime actor, to act as his secretary/servant. Fox is soon visited at his "deathbed" by the three former mistresses: Merle McGill (Edie Adams), a fading Hollywood sex symbol; Princess Dominique (Capucine), who once took a cruise on Fox's yacht; and Mrs. Lone Star Crockett Sheridan (Susan Hayward), a Texas hypochondriac who travels with an enigmatic nurse/companion (Dame Maggie Smith). As Fox and McFly act out the charade, things take an unexpected turn from comical farce to full-blown murder mystery. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You are cordially invited to enjoy a perfectly elegant case of murder!

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | Italy

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 May 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Joseph L. Mankiewicz' The Honey Pot See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,159
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Joseph L. Mankiewicz's first script contained several novelties that never made it to the screen. Among them was a series of memos from a theater-chain owner (made to look as though they had been slipped in front of the projector) that commented on the action taking place. Also, there was to have been a running argument (resembling backstage squabbling) between a theater manager and the actor playing Cecil over such things as lines and cues. See more »

Quotes

Merle McGill: I guess it must be hard for you to understand, Inspector, a man like me and Cecil Fox.
Inspector Rizzi: Not hard at all.
Merle McGill: But how can I say it, Inspector... He was my first... man. Somehow you just never forget your first man.
Inspector Rizzi: I remember mine - vividly.
[Merle throws him a curious glance]
Inspector Rizzi: He also got away.
See more »

Connections

Features Perry Mason (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A lot of talent and high production values lost in dull cleverness.
20 February 2013 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

The Honey Pot (1967)

An odd film historically--it falls in the year of the New Hollywood breakouts like "The Graduate" and "Bonnie and Clyde" yet it is made in the style of those earlier 1960s slick and effete capers like "The Pink Panther." The movie can't be seen in quite contemporary terms, because it's just too slick and clever, and yet it doesn't have the panache and glorious success of the best of the earlier color films, glamour besides.

Technically this is an American production, though it's thoroughly British in feel (and the production company also handled the embarrassing "Casino Royale" which is equally British at its core). The story is basically a romanticized version of Ben Jonson's "Volpone," a play from the same year (1606) as Shakespeare's MacBeth. There is a small part of "Volpone" performed in the movie (for the indulgence of the filthy rich scheming main character). This would seem a promising starting point.

And the director (and co-screenwriter) is one of Hollywood's classic greats, Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Like many of the old guard still working in the late 1960s, there is a slight sense of displacement here, or even of weariness mixed with self-satisfaction. Maybe it shows that this is his last film. The theatrical style of acting is also teetering into the functional dialog and delivery of television--it depends not on atmosphere (t.v. had none back then) but on a development of ideas. In fact, it is something of a play expanded and made colorful for the wide screen. Its drama depends on a sequence of events rather than cinematic, visual elements.

If you are looking for a Susan Hayward performance, there isn't much to watch for--it's quirky and brief. Rex Harrison as the lead is forceful and uncomplicated. And convincing enough. The many side characters are strong and will do, though there is a sad lack of momentum to it all. The combination never quite stumbles, combining a light wit and sophisticated air (and lacking the seeming selfish cruelty of Jonson's original). Even the camera-work, ever smooth and perfectly balanced, gives a sense of well made, if slightly too well lit (television again) movie-making.

Yes, I am all hesitance here. It's so nice and smart all the time without great effect. It twists and twists and you have no way to really anticipate, merely respond by saying, oh, another twist. You don't give a hoot about the characters, or the murdered woman, or whether the inheritance is real or not, or much of anything. So all the back and forth, all the hiding of secrets and playing of parts, even the voice-over from the dead at the end, is slim entertainment.


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