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The Legend Of Lylah Clare (1968)

Kim Novak , Peter Finch , Robert Aldrich  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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The Legend Of Lylah Clare + Third Girl from the Left + The Kim Novak Collection (Picnic / Jeanne Eagels / Bell, Book and Candle / Middle of the Night / Pal Joey)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Kim Novak, Peter Finch, Ernest Borgnine, Milton Selzer, Rossella Falk
  • Directors: Robert Aldrich
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Archive
  • DVD Release Date: November 10, 2011
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005SYZZ80
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,318 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

No one can touch Robert Aldrich when it comes to holding a mirror up to the self-absorbed self-deception of Hollywood. The director of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and The Big Knife turns the lens again to Tinseltown with this deliciously overheated mystery-melodrama. Kim Novak portrays an unknown chosen to star in a biopic of film goddess Lylah Clare, who died under mysterious circumstances on her wedding night. Two Best Actor Academy Award(r) winners,* Peter Finch as Lylah's obsessed widower and Ernest Borgnine as a loutish mogul, help stir a heady plot that reveals secrets, compulsions, perversions and murder as the naïve young actress becomes consumed by the identity of the dead star.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By Kasey G
Fans have been waiting years for "The Legend of Lylah Clare" to arrive on DVD. Warner Archive finally comes through with a beautifully restored, widescreen release (Sorry, NO Subtitles) of this overlooked 1968 indictment of Hollywood and the people who make the movies and make or break the stars. (NOTE: Check the Images section of this product for the screen grabs I posted). Directed by grand-guignol master Robert Aldrich ("Whatever Happened to Baby Jane", "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte"), the film tries for the same gothic atmosphere, but doesn't quite achieve it, with it's psychadelic colors, fuzz guitars on the soundtrack and lightning-fast dialogue not as well-suited to the genre.

Kim Novak plays a dual role as mousy but headstrong budding actress Elsa Campbell, who is plucked from obscurity by agent Milton Selzer and presented to has-been director Peter Finch because she resembles the dead 1940s movie queen of the title. At first Finch is reluctant to meet her, but quickly changes his mind when Elsa begins to eerily channel Lylah while viewing her old films. It becomes clear that Finch and Selzer will direct and produce a new biopic about the late star. It's never explained or acknowledged in the script whether Elsa's supposed to be possessed by Lylah's spirit, but the script moves things along quickly, we as the audience don't really question it either.

Predictably, Finch becomes increasingly obsessed with molding Elsa into Lylah's image to recreate the past. The film's highlight is a press conference in which Elsa is introduced and there are clever camera angles used so that we the viewer don't get to see Novak's transformation until she descends the imposing staircase where the original Lylah met her demise years ago.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warner Archive Hits Bulls-eye November 12, 2011
Warner Archive has once again done it. They have released a more than 40 year old film with a stunningly beautiful remastered DVD edition that has not looked as good in rich Metrocolor since I saw it in a New York City theater upon initial release in 1968. I still have never seen the original TV play by Robert Thom and Edward de Blasio that starred Tuesday Weld. Was it the same Robert Thom who wrote "Wild in the Streets" and other AIP hits? The theatrical film stars Kim Novak, Peter Finch, Ernest Borgnine, Coral Browne, Milton Seltzer and Rosella Falk and was directed by Robert Aldrich who brought us "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte", "The Killing of Sister George" but also "The Dirty Dozen." His films are heavy-handed, sometimes brilliant and always entertaining. As scripted by Hugo Butler and Jean Rouverol with music by Frank de Vol and photographed by Joseph Biroc, "The Legend of Lylah Clare" is no exception. It is a campy, somewhat melodramatic and cynical examination of tinseltown. Warner Archive should be congratulated once again for bringing this overlooked film to home video, bringing their increasing finesse to the technology and becoming even more affordable. Includes a trailer. There are a few imperfections, but again this film is over 40 years old with otherwise bravura restoration.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Camp Classic February 23, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Omg....what a great camp classic. People have said this is Kim Novak's worst performance, (it's actually her last leading role in a feature), but I think people are taking the movie too seriously. It' been said the studio upon viewing the movie for the first time, didn't know how to take it, then decided to sell it as camp. There is no doubt in my mind that this movie was made from the start with that in mind. Maybe some of the actors involved didn't know it at the time of shooting, but that's the brilliance of it. Kim had to be in on the joke though, her performance is high camp style at it's best. When she does her wicked laugh, it is f'ing laugh out loud hilarious.
Lylah Clare (Kim Novak) is a dead film star. Movie-producer Barney Sheean (Ernest Borgnine) hires Elsa Brinkmann (Kim Novak), the living image of the late Lylah, to star in a film based on Ms. Clare's life. Barney hires director Lewis Zarkan (Peter Finch), Lylah's former husband, to transform the talentless Elsa into a facsimile of the deceased screen queen.
This color print from Warner Archive is really crisp, and bright.
There is a drinking game to be made from this movie, I just haven't figured it out yet.
Really fun, campy movie about Hollywood, but please, watch it with tongue firmly plated in cheek.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Accidental Comedy Gold October 1, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Here's the movie that's so campy it makes Showgirls look like straightforward drama. Everything about Lylah Clare is awful and immensely entertaining. Kim Novak's performance is absurd - there's no other word for it. Going from zero to zany in six seconds flat, Novak embodies the ghost of Lylah, who apparently was a muppet show-style parody of Marlene Deitrich (only with a variable Swedish/Italian accent dubbed over by a horrendous voice actor!). The flashbacks of Lylah's demise are cause for laughter, with bizarre distorted audio, trippy psychedelic visual effects,and Ms. Novak's dim-witted, gaping gob planted in the corner, vaguely staring into space.

The plotting is ridiculous - Lylah was a popular actress who died young, her doppelgänger shows up to take her place and is seemingly possessed by Lylah to such a degree that they wind up dying more or less the same way. But don't even get me started on how delightfully over the top and bizarre the doppelgänger's death scene is. It's enough to make you laugh so hard you might vomit. The sad clowns! Oh dear.

Anyway, Lylah's husband (Peter Finch, playing the role so catty and flamboyant that it makes his actually-gay character from Sunday Bloody Sunday look straight by comparison) is a faded film director who decides to make a comeback by hiring the lookalike, Elsa, to star in a movie detailing Lylah's life story. Only problem is that Lylah was so imperfect that the story of the film is almost fictional. Wouldn't want to mention the lesbianism, the drugs, etc. after all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend you watch this
Should have been an oscar winner. Kim is great in this.
Published 15 days ago by Dogmom3
5.0 out of 5 stars The Legend of Kim Novak
While this is a true camp classic that elicits many perhaps unintentional guffaws, Kim Novak's great beauty is lavishly depicted throughout. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Mr. Lucky
5.0 out of 5 stars lylah clare
I love KIM NOVAK and no matter the quality of the film i will always root for this great super star LEGEND of the silver screen of a bi-gone era and still beautiful in her early... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Thom mykel
5.0 out of 5 stars Tell Them Lylah's coming!
Kim Novack tears up the scenery as her bookish actress takes on the characteristics of legendary Screen Siren Lylah Clare. Read more
Published 9 months ago by new yorker
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the Scenes in 1960's Hollywood!
I love Kim Novak! I think she is arguably one of Hollywood's sexiest actresses. I love Kim Novak movies. She may not be a Merle Streep; but I like her as an actress. Read more
Published 15 months ago by David LaGrone
5.0 out of 5 stars Kim at her Best
I saw this years ago on cable and hated it. Now it has been remastered and I really enjoyed watching it. The ending is what I never remembered and it was a surprise. Read more
Published 15 months ago by William Dakota
1.0 out of 5 stars You're not missing anything if you bypass this.
Seriously - I love camp - this isn't bad enough to be camp. You're missing nothing if you pass on this.
Published 16 months ago by juicy
5.0 out of 5 stars Campy Guilty Pleasure !
Kim Novak is a blast playing a double role in The Legend Of Lylah Clare. You 'll laugh when she cusses out Coral Browne ! Read more
Published on August 29, 2012 by K. Nolting
I love this film for all of the wrong reasons. The best way to describe it is "pure camp." This movie is touted on cable channels as a "guilty pleasure," and that it is. Read more
Published on August 1, 2012 by Bearlight
3.0 out of 5 stars For Kim Novak fans only
This movie is bad, so bad its actually fun buts its probably only entertaining for Kim Novak fans. If it had been made properly without dubbing Ms Novak when she is channeling... Read more
Published on January 15, 2012 by Anthony
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