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The Legend Of Lylah Clare

20 customer reviews

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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.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Special Features


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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005SYZZ80
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,555 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By KaseyG on October 30, 2011
Format: DVD
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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By V. Risoli on November 12, 2011
Format: DVD
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Joseph Minardi on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Joseph on November 10, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Dear Kim Novak. She has always been greatly underrated. Other than Vertigo, not many folks can name any
outstanding roles she has played. In this film, she not only is hired to take the place of a famous star who killed
herself, but Kim actually becomes the dead star, and can speak in a guteral German in a horse voice the same way
the former star did. If you like Kim Novak - This is the film for you to see.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
Less arguably are the talents of Robert Aldrich, the director. These two together, plus other talented cast members, provided me with an 'edge-of-my-seat' story of what goes on behind the scenes in 1960's Hollywood. Whether movies, television or the Kardashian family, there is LOTS of drama behind the scenes! I enjoy the behind-the-scenes stories (on today's DVDs and the "scandal rags") as much as the productions themselves ... and sometimes, moreso! This movie provides both; since it is an entertaining MOVIE about what goes on BEHIND THE SCENES. So, I got two for the price of one.
Also, I believe the story this movie tells is as appropriate to today's entertainment fields as it was when it was made.
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