Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1971. Filmways Pictures, Raymax Productions. Screenplay by Henry Farrell. Cinematography by Lucien Ballard. Produced by George Edwards. Music by David Raksin. Production Design by Eugène Lourié. Costume Design by Morton Haack. Film Editing by William Reynolds. Academy Awards 1971.
Delightfully campy indulgence in horror stars Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters as two complete opposites united by their sons; it’s the 1930s and at the beginning of this film both men have been sent to prison for murdering a woman. Threats start to come by phone and mail to their mothers until the ladies, one a glamorous wannabe starlet and the other a dowdy religious marm, move to California, change their names and open a dance school. Pretty soon the threats start to come again, or is it just Helen (Winters) being paranoid? There’s lots of fun to be had, from the juicy story (including the shocking ending) to the performances by both stars and the gorgeous array of Oscar-nominated costumes that recreate the period with surprising skill. Imagine if The Day Of the Locust didn’t take itself so seriously and you have sort of an idea of what you’ll find here.