Thursday, June 16, 2011
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
"Let's not talk about the Nazis. It was bad enough when they were all over the place, strutting around, inviting themselves to dinner." -- the countess.
"You can sleep with anyone, can't you?" -- Helmuth.
"If I have to -- but I have my preferences." -- Konrad.
A sociopathic charmer named Konrad Ludwig (Michael York) arrives in the picturesque town of Ornstein and uses his body, wits, and homicidal tendencies to take over the household of Countess Von Ornstein (Angela Lansbury), who lives in a big castle with her children -- but also lives mostly on bluff [by her standards at least]. Eliminating anyone who might get in the way of his plans, Konrad beds and romances both the daughter, Anneliese (Heidelinde Weis), of a wealthy couple and the countess' attractive son, Helmuth (Anthony Corlan AKA Anthony Higgins). His plans to marry them both off to one another go awry but the clever fellow may have yet another idea up his sleeve ... The performances and story are compelling in this very darkly amusing comedy-suspense film, although some might feel the ending -- if outrageous and comical -- isn't entirely satisfying. Jane Carr is good if a little weird as the countess' strange and homely daughter, Lotte, who's wiser than she lets on --at first. Wolfreid Lier makes an impression as the stern major domo, Klaus. Despite the free-wheeling sensuality, the movie seems to have a kind of old-fashioned sensibility to it. This was loosely based on a novel by Harry Kressing entitled "The Cook;" the screenplay is by Hugh Wheeler, who wrote many musical librettos, and who was also well-known as mystery novelist Patrick Quentin. Stage specialist Harold Prince only directed one other theatrical film and one television movie. Score by John Kander and some nice scenery as well.
Verdict: Fun and games with an ambisexual twist. ***.