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

Thursday, September 8, 2011


THE GAZEBO (1959). Director: George Marshall.

"Can't you call Hitchcock again?"

"The guest room? You know how long it's been since I cleaned in there!" -- the heroine, upon learning a corpse is to be placed in a guest room.

TV writer Elliot Nash (Glenn Ford) decides to take the law into his own hands and take care of a blackmailer who threatens to send sexy old photos of his wife, Nell (Debbie Reynolds) -- just starting an important Broadway career -- to the scandal sheets. A new gazebo that the wife has just bought might come in handy as the blackmailer's resting place. Unfortunately, things don't go exactly as Elliot plans. [At one point he asks an unseen Alfred Hitchcock, for whom he's working on a script, for help! If only ..! ] Actually. this is a pleasant and reasonably entertaining black comedy with a few minor twists that only goes awry and becomes a bit labored in the final quarter. Ford is fine; Reynolds is perky and competent; Carl Reiner is okay as their friend, Harlow -- but Reiner's on-screen personality in his younger days was never exactly likable. Doro Merande is hilarious as the maid Matilda, who shouts at everyone. Martin Landau shows up late in the game as a hood. Ford and Reynolds appeared together the same year in the pretty awful It Started with a Kiss.

Verdict: Undeniably amusing but somehow unsatisfying. **1/2.

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