EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|LET'S KILL UNCLE (director: William Castle; screenwriters: from the novel by Rohan O'Grady/Mark Rodgers; cinematographer: Harold Lipstein; editor: Edwin H. Bryant; music: Herman Stein; cast: Nigel Green (Major Kevin Harrison), Mary Badham (Chrissie), Pat Cardi (Barnaby Harrison), Robert Pickering (Sgt. Frank Travis), Linda Lawson (Justine), Reff Sanchez (Ketchman), Nestor Paiva (Steward), William Castle (Russell Harrison, Barnaby's traffic accident father); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Castle; Universal Pictures; 1966-UK/USA)|
Castle gimmicks here, but lots of nonsense."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
lighthearted-thriller directed as a black comedy by William Castle
Frightened Girls"/"I Saw What You Did"). It's based on the 1963 novel
by Canadian author June Skinner, writing
under the pen name Rohan O'Grady, and
is written by Mark Rodgers. No
Castle gimmicks here, but lots of nonsense. It has kids in danger of
being killed by a war hero, only to turn the tables on their intended
opens with millionaire
industrialist Russell Harrison dying in a bloody nighttime car
accident. This leaves his obnoxious braggart spoiled 12-year-old son
Barnaby Harrison (Pat
Cardi) as an orphan to be placed in the care of Russell's
brother, Major Kevin Harrison (Nigel
Green) - British Intelligence,
World War II hero. Uncle Kevin is next in line for the $5 million
inheritance. Uncle's famous for writing a book called "Killing the
Enemy," and lives alone on the secluded Caribbean tropical Serenity Island.
Barnaby is escorted there by boat by police Sgt. Frank Travis (Robert
Pickering). Also on the trip is the sassy American southerner, the
Chrissie (Mary Badham),
traveling to stay with her pretty divorcee Aunt Justine (Linda Lawson).
Chrissie's mom deserted a year ago and her father remarried, and the
trailer-park kid was not wanted. The kids, from opposite sides of the
tracks, fight with each other, and take a strong dislike to each other.
On the island, Barnaby is told by
his amiable but wicked uncle "You're a charming
child, Barnaby, but five million dollars charming you are not." Uncle
just before hypnotized his charge and directed him to jump off a cliff,
but Justine while strolling along the beach spots Barnaby and saves him
by calling out to him and breaking his spell. When the kid tells the
adults about uncle's intentions, they are skeptical. So Barnaby gets
Chrissie's help to take the offensive and kill his uncle first
(following along with the theme that kids must stick together against
adults in such emergencies).
For scares there are the following:
a legless native fisherman on a cart (Reff
Sanchez) living alone in a dilapidated hotel, poison mushrooms,
fire, a tarantula crawling over someone's sleeping face, and a
shark-infested murky swimming pool.
The uneven comedy is out of sync,
with Green giving a charming winking performance while Cardi gives an artificial grating
performance that leaves him an unsympathetic kid victim to an adult.
All the intended murder scenes are awkwardly staged without any sense
of urgency and thereby seem unconvincing.
REVIEWED ON 10/12/2010 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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