A dictatorial film director (Peter Finch) hires an unknown actress (Kim Novak) to play the lead role in a planned movie biography of a late, great Hollywood star.A dictatorial film director (Peter Finch) hires an unknown actress (Kim Novak) to play the lead role in a planned movie biography of a late, great Hollywood star.A dictatorial film director (Peter Finch) hires an unknown actress (Kim Novak) to play the lead role in a planned movie biography of a late, great Hollywood star.
too competent to be camp
THE LEGEND OF LYLAH CLARE looks initially like some sort of camp classic. Don't expect a companion piece to VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, however. Kim Novak plays a mousy aspiring actress picked to portray Lylah Clare, a Marlene Dietrich/Greta Garbo-type screen goddess from Hollywood's golden era who died tragically 30 years before, in a screen version of her life. Under the tutelage of Peter Finch, Lylah's director and husband, Novak is transformed physically and psychologically into the screen star. Along the way, we're treated to three different versions of Lylah's death(kitschy flashbacks in watery black and white framed with lurid red borders, with Novak's close-up in the corner of the screen), a great bitch-out scene between Novak as Lylah and a crippled gossip-columnist hag based on Louella Parsons, a lesbian drama coach, and Novak spouting dubbed, throaty, German-accented dialogue. The make-up job on Novak to make her look like Lylah really doesn't reflect 1930s movie glamour; with her teased and bleached bob, frosted pink lips, and inch-thick eyeliner, she looks more like Dusty Springfield than Jean Harlow. Despite all this, the film isn't some out-of-control camp fest. Really. No scenery chomping, bad dubbed singing sequences, emotional breakdowns, down-and-dirty catfights, or the like. The only fault with a performance might be with Novak during her fits when she impersonates Lylah, throwing her head back to laugh maniacally in that throaty, faux-Garbo accent. Still, its the only real fault in an otherwise competent film. Aldrich is hardly subtle with his digs at the Hollywood system and corruption, but they come out during the course of his characters' conversations and aren't sensationalized. Too many good performances and sympathetic characters to keep it from being an all-out guilty pleasure, but still engaging
- Aug 16, 2001
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By what name was The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968) officially released in Canada in English?Answer