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.

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writers:

Robert Thom (teleplay), Edward DeBlasio (teleplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kim Novak ... Lylah Clare / Elsa Brinkmann / Elsa Campbell
Peter Finch ... Lewis Zarken / Louie Flack
Ernest Borgnine ... Barney Sheean
Milton Selzer ... Bart Langner
Rossella Falk ... Rossella
Gabriele Tinti ... Paolo
Valentina Cortese ... Countess Bozo Bedoni
Jean Carroll ... Becky Langner
Michael Murphy ... Mark Peter Sheean
Coral Browne ... Molly Luther
Lee Meriwether ... Young Girl
James Lanphier ... 1st Legman
Robert Ellenstein ... Mike
Nick Dennis ... Nick
Dave Willock ... Cameraman
Edit

Storyline

A sexy starlet (Kim Novak) resembles Lylah Clare, a flamboyant star of the thirties who died mysteriously and tragically on her wedding night, gets a chance to play her in a biographical film directed by Lylah's real-life husband (Peter Finch) and history repeats itself as he falls for her reincarnation. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Overnight, she became a star...Over many nights, she became a legend. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John WIlson's book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE. See more »

Goofs

Elsa's (Kim Novak's) voice during her tirade against Molly Luther is clearly not hers. It is the guttural deep voice of an older heavy smoker, something that cannot be imitated. This is consistent with the plot, which eventually reveals she really is possessed...but why doesn't anyone else notice the impossibility? See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bart Langner: [showing Elsa Brinkmann old studio photos of the late movie star Lylah Clare] Oh, this lousy projector - I hope it still works. There, I think I've got it. This is the only picture I have of Lylah in color. Despite what you may have heard, this is the only time she ever posed in the nude. You can't imagine what a really big star she was, I mean really big! Everybody loved her, worshipped her.
Lylah Clare: She had a strange kind of appeal, didn't she.
See more »

Connections

References In a Lonely Place (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Lylah
Music by Frank De Vol
Lyrics and Vocal by Sibylle Siegfried
See more »

User Reviews

 
The awfulness becomes riveting - one of the great worst movies
28 August 2005 | by grahamclarkeSee all my reviews

Robert Aldrich had a solid career which includes some extremely fine work such as "Kiss Me Deadly" and "The Big Knife" from his early period. He handled large action movies ("The Dirty Dozen") with the same craftsmanship as small .intimate pieces, ("The Killing of Sister George"). In both "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" and perhaps his most famous movie "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane", there is a definite camp touch which is carefully controlled in that it never derails the proceedings but only adds much to the general enjoyment of these films as a whole.

"The Legend of Lylah Clare" is a film that cannot be derailed, since from the very first frame it's clearly out of control. What proceeds is a very bumpy ride indeed. The question that remains is just how much of this was intentional. Can one consciously make actors perform so ludicrously, and if so, just what is the point ? It's seems totally unfeasible that a director with Aldrich's record should allow these poor actors to humiliate themselves in having to deliver the most preposterous dialog imaginable. Perhaps it's his hate letter to Hollywood. Aldrich who steered clear of the tyranny of Hollywood by establishing his own production company, paints a truly crass portrait of the movie industry. The point is that this is not an intelligent, witty or biting take on the industry, it's simply a grotesque movie which really has to be seen to be believed. Actors with vast experience such as Peter Finch and Ernest Borgnine are made to look like total amateurs in the business. And then there's Kim Novak. (One can only wonder what Tuesday Weld made of the role in the original television version.) Perhaps one should not be too surprised that this was her last American movie, and the signal of the beginning of the end of her somewhat shaky career.

Novak was apparently thrust into stardom far too fast. Her radiant screen presence may have been captivating but there was little real talent behind the looks. What she did exude was a vulnerability which seems to be founded on her justified lack of confidence as an actress. Columbia groomed her as a potential new Marilyn Monroe. But no matter what dark complexes were lurking beneath Monroe's screen presence, she always made us believe she was having a ball. That was her genius. Novak always seems uncomfortable and decidedly awkward. It's something that at times may have worked in her favor, but ultimately her lack of having what it really takes could not be disguised. Lylah Clare is a role that many a Hollywood actress of the time could really have sunk their teeth into. Novak simply does not have a clue what to do with it and director Aldrich leaves her stranded.

The awfulness of this movie becomes riveting in itself. You'll probably want to see it through to the end. One of the greatest worst movies of all time.


50 of 67 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 32 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 November 1968 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Große Lüge Lylah Clare See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,490,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed