Psycho And Sondheim! “Cult Movie Monday” Has A Hollywood Murder Mystery – “The Last Of Sheila!”

Richard Benjamin Last of Sheila

“Who did this room? Parker Brothers?”

It’s time for “Cult Movie Monday”, and I’ve got one of the most entertaining murder mysteries ever, with an all-star cast!

If you haven’t heard of “The Last Of Sheila”, you are missing out on one of the great films of the 70’s – and a hilarious look at Hollywood as well!

overlooked cult films


“Psycho” Meets Sondheim!

“The Last Of Sheila” is a great “Hollywood Insider” whodunnit – and it was written by two consummate Hollywood players! The plot is based on murder-mystery party games that co-authors and puzzle enthusiasts Anthony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim wrote and performed in their homes.

Tony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim

Of course, Tony Perkins became a star through his legendary performance as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film “Psycho.”

anthony-perkins-norman-bates-end-of-psycho-skull

Their love of puzzles and mysteries led to a classic, and criminally overlooked 70’s film “the Last Of Sheila.”


The Last of Sheila!

I’ll say this up front: this is one of my favorite films of all time. It’s a classic “whodunnit”, as I said, and it was written by Anthony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim. Here is the plot: Movie Producer James Coburn invites a Director, Writer, Starlet, Agent, and a hanger on or two to spend a week on his yacht off the French Riviera. Here is the trailer:

Look At This Cast!

One of the great things about this film is the cast – a “who’s who” of Hollywood in the early 70’s…such as James Mason, who plays a washed-up Director desperate to get back behind a camera – Mason as you know was brilliant in Stanley Kubrick’s “Lolita”…

James Mason Lolita

James Coburn plays the game-loving Hollywood Producer who was married to the actress Sheila – and in mourning her death, he decides to invite his Hollywood “friends” over to his yacht for a “game”…

great James Coburn movie

“The Last Of Sheila” is a great murder-mystery, and I won’t share more plot details to avoid giving anything away. But the cast clearly is having a ball making fun of real life Hollywood figures. Dyan Cannon plays a powerful Agent – in real life, Cannon was married to Cary Grant in the 60’s – and she relishes her role here – if you’ve ever heard of the legendary Super Agent Sue Mengers, wait until you see Dyan Cannon’s take on her…

dyan cannon


Raquel Raquel!

Raquel Welch was one of the biggest stars of that time – and she brings all of her sex symbol status to her role as the starlet who needs constant love and affection…

The-Last-of-Sheila-Raquel Welch

Raquel has rarely been better than she is here – and her scene with Dyan Cannon is a delicious tongue in cheek poke at Hollywood.


Cannon: [while suntanning] “I have to do 25 minutes on my stomach.
Raquel: To make up for the 25 minutes you spent on your back last night?”

raquel welch bikini

Richard Benjamin plays the has-been screenwriter who needs a job – so he spends far too much time sucking up to James Coburn…and he has a few secrets of his own as well…along with the terrific cast, the location for filming is the incredible French Riviera!

Cannes tourism

Welcome To Cannes!

The entire “Last Of Sheila” film takes place along the French Riviera, including great locations off the coast of Cannes…

Here is some great trivia, courtesy of IMDB: “Shooting the monastery sequence just off Cannes proved to be troublesome for Raquel Welch. Gale force winds and rain disrupted the night shoot, and Welch was reluctant to leave her Venice hotel for fear of getting stuck in the storm. ”

Raquel Welch movie


“A Bit Of A Splodge!”

Raquel wasn’t a fan of the weather conditions, but she hung in there like a pro.

“This glamorous picture in the wonderful sunny Cote d’Azur has turned out to be a bit of a splodge,” Welch told a journalist. “This is not my idea of an enjoyable evening, but they’re paying you the money. I just go ahead and do it and don’t complain.”

Herbert Ross and James Coburn


Kudos Director Herbert Ross!

Herbert Ross directed “Sheila”, and this legendary Director clearly let the cast run with this great material. Herbert Ross was a brilliant Director – along with “Sheila” he directed the Oscar nominated “The Goodbye Girl”, “The Turning Point” and he did “Footloose” too!

james_coburn_duck_you_suckers

There’s a funny bit in the film when James Coburn derisively refers to Tommy’s latest film as “A Fistful of Lasagna”, an obvious dig at spaghetti westerns. But, the same year Coburn appeared in “Sheila”, he starred in legendary Director Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western “A Fistful of Dynamite”!

Actor Richard Benjamin


Richard Benjamin Rules!

And back to Richard Benjamin: along with “Sheila”, he also starred in one of the most brilliant anti-war films ever made – “Catch-22!”

catch22

Read all about this provocative film by clicking here:


https://johnrieber.com/2014/03/24/the-brilliant-black-comedy-catch-22-a-neglected-movie-masterpiece/

Benjamin is also a great Director, and for me his greatest accomplishment was “My Favorite Year” – an affectionate look at the early days of live television – in fact, it is another one of my favorite films of all time!

My Favorite Year

Read all about this classic comedy by clicking here:


https://johnrieber.com/2014/02/12/rip-sid-caesar-classic-comedian-my-favorite-years-loving-tribute/

“The Last of Sheila” is a great mystery, an affectionate send up of Hollywood, an Actor’s showcase and a beautifully made mystery – check it out and let me know what you think!

classic unknown films



Categories: 70's Cinema, Art, Cult Movies, Film Fight Club, Great Films, Hollywood, Movies, Movies About Movies, Obscure Movies, Pop Culture, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Travel

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. I love James Mason and the rest of the cast looks awesome as well as the premise. I’m in John! I’ll rent it this week. 🙂

    • Cindy, listen to the dialogue…it’s rich with inside Hollywood snark – they have a blast skewering Producers, Writers, Director and Agents…and Herbert Ross directed it, he also did “The Goodbye Girl” and “The Turning Point” among many others…

  2. I know how much you love this film, John. It never grabbed me in quite the same way, but that’s fine. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. I haven’t seen this! But I like Coburn so definitely worth a look.

Trackbacks

  1. “The Commitments”! Terrific Movie Musical Is My “Cult Movie Monday!” Glen Hansard’s Rise To Oscar Gold! – johnrieber

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Darlene Foster's Blog

dreamer of dreams, teller of tales

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

Urban Suburban Girl

(adj.) cul – de – sac couture

You can always start now

exploring possibilities

Realweegiemidget Reviews Films TV Books and more

You can take the girl out of Glasgow. Entertainment Reviews from a Wee Scottish Wife and Stepmum living in Finland.

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

Tina's Timeless Travels

Travel through the eyes of Tina

Through the Shattered Lens

Where mainstream meets grindhouse, exploitation, otaku and gamers

The Planking Traveler

Affordable Travel, Enjoyable Movement, And Healthy Living Inspiration

Just muddling through life

The ups and downs of a working mum

Laura's Books and Blogs

Writing tips, giveaways, reviews, and essays from a middle grade author and freelance blogger.

Pages, Places, & Plates

Reviews of books, eateries, experiences, and travel.

booksforall245

One of my happy places is in my books

Marian Wood

Aspiring Author and Poet

Binging on a Budget

"Help Me, I'm Poor."

Sunshine with Savannah

Writer aiming to cultivate kindness. | Exploring, learning, scribbling, finding sunshine wherever I go.

Notes from the U.K.

Exploring the spidery corners of a culture and the weird stuff that tourist brochures ignore.

This Coffee Life

wellness & good reads

A Rambling Reviewer

Here be rambles and reviews.

Drew's Movie Reviews

Movie reviews from your average dude

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Wrangling literary arts for writers: words for people!

The Annual Bloggers Bash

The Official Website for the Best Blogging Event of the Year!

But I Smile Anyway...

Musings and memories, words and wisdom... of a working family woman

Colline's Blog

A potpourri of books and things

Travel with Intent

A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams

Movie Reviews 101

Daily Movie Reviews & ABC Film Challenge

Cindy Bruchman

Films. Travel. Photography. Books. Let's talk.

From Michigan to Germany

A family from Michigan living abroad in Germany.

JR-Sploitation!

The world's wildest movies from an era of "everything goes!"

Eclectic Alli

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.

fancypaper

Little Things Make Us Happy

Rust Belt Girl

reading and writing the Rust Belt

Cult Of The Cinema

Exploring Cinematic Diversity

Retired? No one told me!

Tonight I Dream. Tomorrow I Do!

beetleypete

The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

The Bloomin Brilliant Blog

A Little Piece Of My Life

Suzie Speaks

The Adventures Of a Thirty-Something Life

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Musings on cats, travel, gardens and life

The BookWorm Drinketh

Give Tea to the Tillerman, But Booze to the Bookworm!

Tranquil Dreams

Watching, Reading, Cooking & Travelling

Esme Salon

Share, Care & Inspire

An Historian About Town

History in the Making

Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

Come for Adventure. Stay for the Ride!

Robbie's inspiration

Ideas on writing and baking

a mindful traveler

explore, live, love...

%d bloggers like this: