Friday, October 08, 2010

Movies That Fell Through the Cracks # 62

***Spoiler*** Rosebud...was the sled. That said, apparently director Otto Preminger was attempting to change our cinematic perceptions when he made a picture in 1975 entitled ROSEBUD. Needless to say, there was no relation. In this film, Rosebud is a yacht. So one Rosebud is associated with what is often called the best film ever, the other with what could conceivably be a candidate for the worst film ever.

Legendary actor Peter O'Toole toplines as a British intermediary working with the CIA to rescue 5 kidnapped daughters of important men. At various times in his career, this might have been a casting coup but not here--O'Toole's equally legendary alcohol, substance abuse and overall health problems have clearly taken their toll and to say the sickly looking actor walks though his performance is being kind as he can barely stand up at all.

Another who should have known better was Sir (but not yet) Richard Attenborough, later of JURASSIC PARK fame. Beyond that, the cast features veteran Peter Lawford, himself reportedly in a spiral of self-abuse around that time and John Lindsay, the former mayor of New York City. Much was made at the time of the acting debut of the Mayor with the movie star looks. Unfortunately, he did not have the least bit of movie star talent! American TV and stage actor Cliff Gorman and international stars Raf Vallone and Claude Dauphin round out the male cast.

For the most part, the women are the kidnap victims here. Most interesting to note are SEX AND THE CITY's Kim Cattrell in a very early appearance and DOCTOR WHO's second Romana, Lalla Ward.

Based on a novel by Ernest Hemingway's daughter and with a script by Preminger's son with ecdysiast (and later talk show hostess) Gypsy Rose Lee, ROSEBUD is long, slow, dull, badly cast, badly acted and, from the man who had then only recently brought you the so-bad-it's-become-a-belated-classic, SKIDOO, badly directed.

Otto Preminger was, of course, the man behind such classics as EXODUS, RIVER OF NO RETURN, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM and the cinematic masterpiece that is LAURA. Clearly, he knew how to direct a movie. He was also, however, one of three actors to portray Mister Freeze on BATMAN. Sadly, I think THAT was the Preminger who brought us ROSEBUD.

1 comment:

  1. You're probably right about the Preminger who was Mr. Freeze No. 2 (emphasis on No. 2!); this film probably destroyed his directing career. And it is too bad that John Lindsay and Peter Lawford both fared badly.