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

Thursday, March 18, 2010


DIE, DIE MY DARLING (aka Fanatic/1965). Director: Silvio Narizzano.

Patricia Carroll (Stefanie Powers, the Girl from Uncle) is in England with her new fiance, Alan (Maurice Kaufmann) when she decides to pay a courtesy call on the mother, Mrs. Trefoile (Tallulah Bankhead), of her former fiance, Steven, who died in an accident. Unfortunately, the initially welcoming Mrs. Trefoile isn't right in the head, and is such a religious fanatic that she considers Pat to be Steven's wife. When she discovers that Pat is planning to marry someone else, Mrs. Trefoile keeps Pat a prisoner with the aid of a married couple, Harry and Anna (Peter Vaughn, Yootha Joyce), who work for her. This is Bankhead's entry in the "aging actress" horror film sweepstakes and she gives it her all, although it is unfortunate that she sounds like Daffy Duck most of the time. Powers is a bit affected, but she's more than competent as the harried young woman, and Vaughn and Joyce are as professional as ever. Donald Sutherland plays another servant who is mentally deficient, the kinds of roles he specialized in before he was somehow reinvented as an unlikely romantic lead. Die, Die, My Darling holds the attention, and has some very effective moments, but in general the direction is uninspired and the whole production has a kind of cheapjack feel to it. It's ironic that Bankhead, who was certainly a free spirit in real life, plays a woman who is repulsed by sensuality. A Hammer film released by Columbia. Screenplay by Richard Matheson from the novel "Nightmare" by Anne Blaisdell.

Verdict: Tallulah at her naughtiest. ***.

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