Saturday, 28 April 2007

The Loved One (1965)

The Loved One, directed by Tony Richardson, 1965.

This film is based on Evelyn Waugh’s screamingly funny novel about the American way of death. The screenplay was by Christopher Isherwood and Terry Southern. It’s a savage satire on both Hollywood and the California funeral industry. There’s a cast of truly bizarre characters, including the head embalmer at the upmarket Whispering Glades, Mr Joyboy (whoever could have predicted that Rod Steiger could be so funny), Mr Joyboy’s grotesque mother, a young Englishman who works at the Happier Hunting Ground Pet Cemetery, a crazed general, and a young female mortician with whom the young Englishman falls in love. There are cameos from a bizarre assortment of performers ranging from Liberace to Sir John Gielgud. It was promoted as “the motion picture with something to offend everybody”. It is in stupendously bad taste, it’s deliciously and wickedly funny, and I loved every minute of it.

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