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

Thursday, June 5, 2008

HYSTERIA


HYSTERIA (1965). Director: Freddie Francis.

One of Jimmy Sangster's worst scripts is the main problem of this silly pseudo-thriller in which an American (Robert Webber) traveling from France to England winds up losing his memory in an auto crash. The dead driver's widow, Denise (Lelia Goldoni), arranges for his treatment in a clinic and for him to stay in her luxury apartment. Trying to summon up comparisons with Psycho, there's some business with a bloodied knife and then a corpse being found in or near a shower stall with the water running and so on -- but this is no Psycho and doesn't even come close. The film never works up more than the mildest of suspense as it tries to make you wonder who Webber really is and how he fits in with Denise, the dead body, and Dr. Keller (Anthony Newlands), the doctor who's been treating him. Jennifer Jayne from The Crawling Eye plays Gina, a nurse and romantic interest. A riot of loose ends and stupid contrived murder "plots," Hysteria is simply tedious and terrible and doesn't make much sense. Goldoni had a better role in Theatre of Death a couple of years later. Sue Lloyd of Corruption briefly plays a zesty French hooker. Dan Banks' jazzy score is pretty bad.

Verdict: Hysterically bad. *1/2.

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