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

Thursday, February 2, 2017


Alain Delon and Shirley MacLaine
THE YELLOW ROLLS ROYCE (1964). Director: Anthony Asquith. Screenplay by Terence Rattigan

"Oh, God. How I'm going to hate living from now on."

This is a trio of tales loosely tied to the same beautiful title automobile -- copulation occurs in the back seat of the rolls in each story, but even that doesn't make this picture entertaining. Surely a movie built around such a premise could have turned out better than this, but it's as if playwright Rattigan [The Browning Version] decided to throw together scrips and scraps from his discarded idea book to come up with this mess. The first story, starring Rex Harrison [My Fair Lady] as a member of the Foreign Office, is easily the best, and even manages to be somewhat moving in its tale of Harrison being cuckolded by his wife (Jeanne Moreau) and her lover (Edmund Purdom), who works with Harrison, on the day he should be happiest. The second and worst story has to do with a gangster (George C. Scott) traveling in Italy with his moll (Shirley MacLaine) who encounter a handsome man (Alain Delon) who makes tips selling photos to tourists; you can guess what happens. This exercise in tedium can't even be saved by the actors (including Art Carney as Scott's Man Friday) and has a flat wind up to boot. Delon and MacLaine have little chemistry. The third and last story is a contrived bit of business in which a fussy and wealthy woman (Ingrid Bergman) agrees to take a Yugoslav (Omar Sharif) across the border to aid his king and country just as the Germans are attacking. This termagant has more intestinal fortitude than anyone would ever have imagined, but her romance with Sharif is unconvincing, to say the least. (It would have been even less convincing had the more appropriate Katharine Hepburn been cast, as one critic suggested). Bergman is miscast, Scott [The Exorcist III] is excellent as the mobster, Delon succeeds at being charming, Moreau is creditable, and Harrison, with that stiff British upper lip, underplays quite satisfactorily. The best performance, however, is given by a winning and credible Sharif.

Verdict: The first episode is good, but the last two make two hours seem like ten. *1/2.


angelman66 said...

This one is rarely on TV, so I have only read about it. Too bad it is not worthwhile--what a cast! Alain Delon, MacLaine, Ingrid would think this was a winner.

William said...

I'm sure that's what everyone thought at first, but they should have taken a closer look at the screenplay!