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

Thursday, February 12, 2009


LET'S KILL UNCLE (1966). Director: William Castle.

Young Barnaby Harrison (Pat Cardi) goes to stay with his Uncle Kevin (Nigel Green) after his father is killed, and learns that the man fully intends to kill him -- as he even tells him -- for the five million dollars he inherited. Barnaby and his friend Chrissie (Mary Badham) decide it might be a good idea to kill Uncle Kevin first. What ensues is a game of cat and mouse as the kids try to outwit and murder the adult and vice versa. Unfortunately, the rather light, almost comic, tone of the picture works against the suspense and strips the film of needed tension. Cardi makes an appealing protagonist, Badham is a little creepy, Green is okay in an impossible part but radiates little menace. Robert Pickering and Linda Lawson are, respectively, a sergeant who accompanies Barnaby to his uncle's island home, and Chrissie's pretty Aunt Justine. At one point Barnaby gets into a small plane with his uncle, which makes no sense at all. A ramshackle, abandoned hotel and a shark in a swimming pool also figure in the action. Poor musical score and an incredibly flat ending. Castle directs by the numbers.

Verdict: Despite an intriguing situation, this is pretty boring. *1/2.

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