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

Thursday, October 13, 2011


DEAR DEAD DELILAH (1972). Writer/director: John Farris.

"I have long since stopped worrying about anybody else's fate."

In Tennessee on the Southall estate, Aunt Delilah (Agnes Moorehead) is surrounded by greedy relatives and others including Morgan (Michael Ansara), his wife, Buffy (Ruth Baker), Dr. Charles (Dennis Patrick), Roy (Will Geer), Grace (Anne Meacham), her paramour Richard (Robert Gentry) and his wife Ellen (Elizabeth Eis).  Into this household comes Luddy (Patricia Carmichael), who'd been "away" for quite a few years for hacking up her abusive mother and is taken under Ellen's wing. Delilah mischievously tells her relatives that she thinks her father hid a small fortune on the estate, and who finds it, keeps it. It isn't long before -- you guessed it -- someone starts digging up the grounds and slashing up the inhabitants of the ancestral manor. Moorehead, Meacham and Carmichael have the best roles and make the most of them, while the others are perfectly swell. The problem is that the picture has no real style and Farris betrays no particular directorial finesse. The beheading by horseback has a certain panache, however, but it's hardly enough to make this more than a somewhat amusing time waster. Meacham appeared mostly on television and in the theater, appearing in some later works of Tennessee Williams, among others. Somewhat reminiscent of Strait-Jacket and Dementia 13, but not as good.

Verdict: Chop-happy borderline schlock with some good moments and performances. **1/2.

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