Saturday, March 29, 2014

Deadly Funny Business

The Loved One (1965) - Richardson
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A satirical look at Hollywood's funeral industry. While arranging his uncle (John Gielgud)'s funeral at grandiose funeral parlor complex called Whispering Glades, owned and operated by Rev. Glenworthy (Jonathan Winters), our nebbish Brit hero Dennis (Robert Morse) falls for a ridiculously naive and idealistic cosmetician Aimee Thanatogenous (Anjanette Comers). Aimee is also pursued by a creepy, mama's boy embalmer Mr. Joyboy (hilarious Rod Steiger). Penniless Dennis coos Aimee with his poetry while working at adjoining pet cemetery (Aimee hates it because she deems it as crass). He also has to fight off Joyboy's sabotage at his courtship along the way. There are so many wacky ideas and characters in The Loved One: whispering Glades' over the top pageantry, Aimee living in the house at the edge of a cliff, only a few stomps away from collapsing, Joyboy's obese mother demanding grand dinner in bed, a mocking newpaper advice columnist giving half-hearted advice to Aimee, a genius kid's idea of rocket funeral being first adapted by pet cemetery then by Glenworthy to solve the plot shortage problems. A cross somewhere between Soylent Green and Dr. Strangelove, Tony Richardson's black comedy is great fun.

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