|THE BIG CUBE (director/writer: Tito Davison; screenwriters: based on the story by Edmundo Baez/William Douglas Lansford; cinematographer: Gabriel Figueroa; editor: Carlos Savage; music: Val Johns; cast: Lana Turner (Adriana Roman), George Chakiris (Johnny Allen), Richard Egan (Frederick Lansdale), Daniel O'Herlihy (Charles Winthrop), Karin Mossberg (Lisa Winthrop), Pamela Rodgers (Bibi), Carlos East (Lalo), Augusto Benedico (Dr. Lorenz), Victor Junco (Delacroix), Norma Herrera (Stella), Pedro Galvan (University Dean), Regina Torne (Queen Bee); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Francisco Diez Barroso/Lindsley Parsons; Warner Bros.-Seven Arts; 1969)|
idiotic hippie psychedelic thriller."
by Dennis Schwartz
idiotic hippie psychedelic thriller, whose uninspired
groovy story by Edmundo Baez and
screenwriter William Douglas Lansford futiley
tries to blend together Hollywood melodrama with the
swinging new drug culture and in the process the inept
pic gives both recreational drugs and silly soap opera
movies about the drug scene a bad name. Chilian-born
director Tito Davison ("The White
Sister"/"Island for Two"/"Song of the Soul"), also a
co-writer, shot the pic in Mexico, his home base. The
unintentionally laughable pic is another example of a
Hollywood film failing when trying to cash in on the
emerging hippie and LSD markets. It's a dumb
exploitative film like the following druggie
films: The Trip,
Hallucination Generation, Riot
on Sunset Strip, The
Hooked Generation, Free
Grass, Wild in the
Streets, and the completely
ridiculous Blue Sunshine.
title is slang for a sugar cube dipped in LSD, used to
kill off Lana.
Broadway actress Adriana Roman (Lana
Turner) retires from the stage to marry
the wealthy industrialist, the widower Charles
Winthrop (Daniel O'Herlihy),
who has a spoiled teenage daughter Lisa (Karin
Mossberg) he does not know very well
since she's been away to exclusive
private schools in Switzerland. Lisa
resents stepmom sight unseen, and attends with ditzy
hedonist girlfriend Bibi (Pamela
Rodgers) a hipster party at a club called The
Trip, where the stoners drop acid served in a drink
and one trippy party-goer goes berserk and dies when
he runs out into the traffic and gets hit by a car.
Drug dealer Johnny Allen (George
Chakiris), Bibi's smarmy gigolo boyfriend, is
attracted to Lisa's enormous wealth and moves in on
the naive brat by acting as Mr. Perfect around her.
Meanwhile Charles accidentally drowns in his yacht
during a storm and his will stipulates that the
stepmom will control the inheritance, as Lisa can't
collect her share until she turns 25 and can get the
inheritance if not 25 by marrying only someone
approved by her guardian stepmom. The manipulative
Johnny convinces Lisa that the stepmom killed her dad
and that she needs to immediately act to collect her
inheritance. Lisa feeds her stepmom daily small
amounts of acid dipped in a sugar cube in her
medicine. The result has Adriana in a psycho hospital,
as the acid brings back horrible hallucinations of the
death of her husband and she becomes declared
incompetent to look after Lisa because of her amnesia.
overwhelmed director has a mess on his hands trying to
make this absurd tale coherent, but can only manage to
keep the drivel going with some terrible acting by all
parties, a stilted presentation and scores of phony
hipster drug scenes. It's geared primarily for lovers
of bad kitsch films. The risible pic also comes with a
ridiculous moral lesson on the evils of LSD, as it
results in the corrupt former medical student and LSD
dealer Johnny getting his comeuppance in the
conclusion by deliriously trying to talk to an ant as
he has become an acid head living in squalor, while
the confused Lisa comes to her senses by learning from
her mistakes and Adiana returns to normal by getting
rid of her traumatic amnesia through role playing a
second-rate play written especially for her condition
by her long-time old friend Frederick (Richard Egan).
He gallantly waits for the love of his life at home
when she's released from the mental hospital.
The revolting movie tries to cash in on the headline stealing scandal incident from some ten years back when Lana's 14-year-old daughter, Cheryl Crane, fatally stabbed mom's abusive, mob-connected boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato.
REVIEWED ON 1/21/2014 GRADE: C-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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