RIP Stephen Sondheim! His Brilliant Musical Career – And Cult Film Gem “The Last Of Sheila…”

Richard Benjamin Last of Sheila

“Who did this room? Parker Brothers?”

This line is from one of my favorite films of all time, written by a legendary talent who has passed away…

It’s very sad to have to report that Stephen Sondheim, the brilliant Musical Composer, has died…

He was one of the giants of Broadway – and one of the most prolific as well….sadly, he died early Friday at his home in Roxbury, Conn. He was 91.

Sondheim’s credited included these great musicals: “Company” (1970), “Follies” (1971), “A Little Night Music” (1973), “Pacific Overtures” (1976), “Sweeney Todd” (1979), “Merrily We Roll Along” (1981), “Sunday in the Park With George” (1984) and “Into the Woods” (1987).

Among his most memorable songs was “Send In the Clowns,” from “Night Music.”

There will be many obituaries the focus on his Broadway hits, but I want to pay homage to him with this little-known, brilliant film!

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.”


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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 8c056-lastofsheila.jpg

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:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b494e-the-last-of-sheila1.jpg

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!


The Legendary James Coburn!

James Coburn had a long and illustrious career in film, and he is deliciously evil in this one!

There’s a funny bit in the film when 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”!

RIP Stephen Sondheim, a true legend…let me know if you’ve seen this terrific film…

Categories: 70's Cinema, Art, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Film Fight Club, Hollywood, Movies, Music, New York, Pop Culture, Talent/Celebrities

19 replies

  1. What an incredible man and legacy to leave behind — RIP.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know this action, John. I do know Anthony Perkins [obviously] and Raquel Welsh [most beautiful girl in the world]. Thanks for sharing about Stephen Sondheim and his passing.


  3. I loved his version of Sweeney Todd. I have not seen this movie you are raving about, but I will. He had a great life!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The world just suffered a huge loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. He lived a very long and successful life, leaving behind a timeless legacy. Nobody could ask for more.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Imagining Anthony Perkins hosting a murder mystery party game in his home is really creepy. This film looks to be fantastic. Thanks for the recommendation and review, John.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. i saw this long ago and remember loving it! i’m going to watch it again after reading your post. rip to ss, he was an incredibly prolific composer and creative

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I haven’t, John but heading over to download it…Absolutely love “Send in the Clowns” one of my favourites such a sad loss to the industry but will be remembered for his music and films R.I.P.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 11/22/21 — 11/28/21 | Through the Shattered Lens

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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.

New Classic Recipe


Rust Belt Girl

reading and writing the Rust Belt with Rebecca Moon Ruark

Take It Easy

Retired, not expired: words from the after(work)life. And music. Lots of music!

Hey, Traveler

Sharing travel tips, ideas, and anecdotes with fellow wanderers, dreamers, doers, and lovers of life

Stevie Turner

Realist, writer, reader, reviewer and rocker.

Cornwall in Colours

inspired by the colours of the land, sea and sky of Cornwall

Bonjour From Brittany

Celebrating what makes Brittany unique

Let's Go To The Movies

Film and Theatre Lover!

SoraNews24 -Japan News-

Bringing you yesterday's news from Japan and Asia, today.

Bite! Eat! Repeat!

52 Cookbooks. 52 Recipes. A Tasty 2022!

A Teacher's Reflections

Thirty Years of Wonder

Tanooki Homemade Cafe

Yummy Homemade Food Recipes to Make You Smile:)

In Saner Thought

"It is the duty of every man, as far as his ability extends, to detect and expose delusion and error"..Thomas Paine

Pete Springer

Passionate Teacher and Future Children's Author


Follow us as we follow the road


Travel Through Ireland and Europe

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

Geeking Out about It

BlerdWatching Waaay Too Much TV


Tea, Tours and Escapades

Robbie's inspiration

Ideas on writing and baking

You can always start now

journaling to see some answers

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 have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

Through the Shattered Lens

Where mainstream meets grindhouse, exploitation, otaku and gamers

Laura's Books and Blogs

Writing tips, giveaways, reviews, essays, and more!

Drew's Movie Reviews

Movie reviews from your average dude

But I Smile Anyway...

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

Movie Reviews 101

Daily Movie Reviews

Cindy Bruchman

Photography. Observations. Adventures. Let's talk.

Invisibly Me

Live A Visible Life Whatever Your Health

Retired? No one told me!

Tonight I Dream. Tomorrow I Do!


The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Musings on cats, travel, gardens and life

Tranquil Dreams

Watching, Reading, Cooking & Travelling

An Historian About Town

History in the Making

Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

Adventures and Misadventures in Boulder, Colorado

It Rains... You Get Wet

Still more lazy thoughts from this one...

Admit One Film Addict

Psychotropic Cinema and more

emmakwall (explains it all)

Film & soundtrack reviews, good humour and lists


Burgers, Books, Music, Movies, Offbeat Adventures & Pop Culture!


Movie reviews and anything else that comes to mind

%d bloggers like this: