The Legend Of Lylah Clare
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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.
When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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. According to her acting coach and supposed one-time lesbian lover Rosella Falk, she was accosted by a crazed fan on her wedding night and died under mysterious circumstances. The history of that fateful night is recalled Rashomon-style, in three separate, creepy, distorted, black-and-white flashbacks, while Novak's visage is superimposed in the corner listening wide-eyed to the sordid details.
Coral Browne steals the show as a viper-ish, crippled gossip columnist who pokes and prods Novak with her cane like a piece of livestock, referring to the starlet as "a grubby little slut". The film's best moment comes when Novak channels Lylah and lets Browne have it with both barrels. The deep, guttural German voice-dubbing for Novak as Lylah is so over-the-top it's ridiculous, and gives the movie added camp appeal. There's also some witty dialogue such as "For a man who sticks his initials on everything including the toilet seat, you're pretty critical of other people's vanities". Odd little moments such as Novak strolling the grounds of Finch's mansion in polka-dot hip huggers and her brassiere also give this a bizarre flavour.
Ernest Borgnine is terrific as the blustery studio head barking orders at everyone, and a brunette Ellen Corby ("Grandma Walton") has a small part as "Script Girl".
Some may find this movie endlessly talky and dull, and it probably could have benefit from some tighter editing as it does run over two hours. Not as campy or fun as "Valley of the Dolls" but better than "The Killing of Sister George".
You may want to check the Warner Archive site because the price is much less, but for Canadian and International customers, they don't ship outside the U.S.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was just absolutely awful. It wasn't even fun enough to be camp.