Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"The Loved One"


[Updated 16 Jan 2015]

Right now I am watching (with one eye and one ear) "The Loved One" while I write this blog with the other eye and ear.  I do not multi-task very well so probably I will re-write everything later.  (A complete listing of the cast is at the end of this blog so you won't have to go look them up.  (My listing is more in order of appearance than alphabetical.)  Anyway, this rather black comedy was made way back in 1965 in B/W by MGM. Everyone (I would hope) knows the legend of Jonathan Winters who, unfortunately, died recently.  I miss him already - he was one of the greatest "du jour" comedians of the time.  I first discovered Robert Morse in "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying."  Another classic - but more on that in another blog.

So, when watching the movie, watch for the really cool car in one of the opening scenes when Sir Francis picks up Dennis from the airport.  (See if you can identify it then rather than later.)

Spoiler Alert!!  Go watch the movie THEN come back to my comments.  Otherwise, you will know some of the plot and what is happening.  

Anyway, Sir Francis has been working at the same studio for 31 years. Henry Glenworthy (also played by Jonathan Winters) is first seen pitching a new movie.  Sir Fancis G., of course, is still riding along on his reputation while Henry G. also runs a Pet Cemetary.  (Sound familiar yet?)

In one of the early scenes, just before finding his uncle hanging, Dennis gets a drink of milk from a really old version of a refrigerator, one of which I had in my house in Welling, UK, when I stayed there.  Not exactly the same but really close.  Sometimes we tend to forget the really nice appliances that we have in the USA - something of which we only become aware when we actually travel abroad and have to use them.  I never did get used to having a refrigerator under the counter rather than eye level.  And the freezer compart was really tiny.  Think of a "dorm fridge" for comparison, only slightly larger.

Whispering Glades is the mortuary - a really old-fashioned view of what was actually a common conception in Hollywood in those days.  It is a parody of another real-world cemetery,  Meaning, extreme opulence, or over-the-top money-poorly-spent to impress the general public. It was drawn from a real-world cemetary, Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.  But, since the movie was obviously a parody, Forest Lawn could not sue them since it was not directly compared to Forest Lawn.   I  especially liked the part about "The Blessed Reverend Wilbur Glenworthy" description given by the Whispering Glades tour guide (Tab Hunter) at the beginning.  Hilarious!  This was really cool.  I wonder if any of our present-day TV Evangelists have seen this and wondered, in their hearts, "Could I do this and get away with it?"  Being a Jew myself, it is really cool when the "Old Jew" is turned away.  You probably would not see something like that in any comedy today.  Nor the statues of the nudes (naked men and women) in any PG movie.

Aimée Thanatogenos (played by Anjanette Comer) gives Dennis a tour.  She very aptly plays the air-headed tour guide who knows only what she has been told to say.  

Librace must have given them the expression, "Marvelous!  Simply marvelous!" This still has the world-wide recognition that we use today.  He is absolutely slimy in the role and, having had to bury several of my relatives in the last few years, I could see every one of the casket sales persons in his role. 

Mr. Joyboy (Rod Steiger) is perfect as the mortician.  I have always seen him is really serious roles and is superbly cast in this role, especially when getting Sir Henry ready for burial.  When Mr. Joyboy and company get rolling, this whole thing is simply too good to pass up.

Robert Morse (Dennis Barlow - Poet and Artificial Insemination Donor)
Jonathan Winters  as Henry and Wilbur Glenworthy (Both parts)
Roddy McDowell as D. J. Junior, BMOC in the movie
Rod Steiger as Mr. Joyboy (Chief embalmer at the mortuary)
James Coburn as the US Customs inspector
Sir John Gielgud as Sir Francis Hensley (Artist, Motion Pictures, etc. - Dennis' uncle and Movie Producer)
Robert Easton - (Dusty Acres)
Robert Morley (Sir Ambrose Ambercrombie)
Librace as Mr. Starker (the casket seller)


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