Movie Diary 5/13/2018

Life of the Party (Ben Falcone, 2018). Melissa McCarthy in another vehicle, this one with less of the maudlin undertone of some of her recent projects. As I said in my review, I wonder whether the embrace of PG-13 here limits McCarthy, whose best form needs an R rating.

Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice? (Lee H. Katzin, 1969). Hadn’t seen this since a childhood drive-in experience. Geraldine Page really commits to the Grand Guignol but also to the sarcasm, as the loony killer who steals the savings of her string of housekeepers (Ruth Gordon being the latest and most capable). Produced, but not directed, by Robert Aldrich, following Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte. It appears to have undergone some severe post-production pruning, as the editing frequently makes no sense. With Rosemary Forsyth (whatever happened to her?) and Robert Fuller, and some prime Nixon-era costuming. Page’s performance energizes the whole mess.

Kill Me Tomorrow (Terence Fisher, 1957). Shot the same year Fisher did The Curse of Frankenstein, and done with occasional flair, if not much conviction. Pat O’Brien is the obligatory American star imported for this UK production, and while his image fits the role (lippy, hard-drinking newspaperman), O’Brien is way too old for the action. Fairly decent plot device: O’Brien takes money from a gangster so he can pay for his ailing kid’s operation, agreeing to take the fall for a mob murder; the hitch is, the cops don’t believe him, but if they release him they mob will think he reneged on his deal and try to stop the plane taking the kid to a Switzerland clinic. All right, maybe the device isn’t so decent. Lois Maxwell, the future Miss Moneypenny, plays O’Brien’s visibly half-hearted love interest; George Coulouris plays the mobster, with accent. There’s a club where Tommy Steele plays “Rebel Rock” over and over.

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