Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


TWO ON A GUILLOTINE (1965). Producer/Director: William Conrad.

Cassie Duquesne (Connie Stevens of Susan Slade) has not seen her father in years when she attends his funeral and is given the strange (and unlikely) conditions of his will. She must stay overnight for seven days in Duke Duquesne's (Cesar Romero) house or she will forfeit a small fortune that will go to her associate Buzzy (Parley Baer) and Connie's former nanny, Polly (Virginia Gregg of Crime in the Streets). Val Henderson (Dean Jones) helps Connie explore the house and its weird goings-on but she is furious to learn that he is a reporter. Then Polly shows up screaming that Duke is alive ... Two on a Guillotine was one of three light thrillers directed by Conrad in the sixties along with Brainstorm and My Blood Runs Cold, and is the best of them. The performances of everyone, including a Jack Lemmon-like Dean Jones, are all good, and Gregg (always an outstanding actress), and Connie Gilchrist as an hysterical housekeeper, are particularly noteworthy. There's a genuinely suspenseful climax involving the title object. The plot, which is reminiscent of some of William Castle's chillers, will not hold up to inspection but it doesn't need to. Max Steiner provides a good backdrop for the action. One has to wonder if the rabbit that is seen running through the house (and for which Steiner composed its own theme) ever actually gets anything to eat?

Verdict: Entertaining and effective comedy-thriller. ***.


angelman66 said...

Now this one is right up my alley...have never seen it but am intrigued! Thanks for the recommendation as always, Bill!

William said...

My pleasure. Now don't expect anything spectacular, but it is entertaining and well-played. I'm always especially impressed by Virginia Gregg.