Thursday, March 27, 2008

She's not there

Despite already having posted to the blog today, I wanted to mention an intriguing movie airing on TCM tomorrow, at 4:30 PM ET: Bunny Lake is Missing.

Carol Lynley stars as Ann Lake, a newcomer to the swinging London of the 1960s. She's got a four-year-old daughter, Bunny, whom she drops off at a day care. However, Bunny never returns home. And when Ann reports the child missing, she's unable to find anybody at the day care who had any knowledge of seeing the child. Worse, there's no longer any evidence at her flat that Bunny Lake even exists.

Helping her is her extremely arrogant brother, Stephen, played by Keir Dullea. He should know that he's got a niece, since Ann and Bunny are sharing a flat with him. And he's trying to get the police inspector (playedy by Laurence Olivier) to believe him.

It's an interesting premise for a movie, and the grim London of the 1960s, when it was going through its long decline from Empire, is quite a good setting for a story. (The same ugly side of London can be well seen in a movie like To Sir With Love, or even Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy.) The 1960s are also well represented by the soundtrack, in the form of the British rock group The Zombies, who are repeatedly seen on television screens as part of a performance on a BBC TV show. They don't sing their appropriate (at least for this movie) song "She's Not There", instead we get the also-appropriate "Just Out of Reach" and "Remember You". Another plus is that all three of the main cast members do quite a good job here. Unfortunately, though, the movie takes a turn around the bend about three-quarters of the way into the movie that left me feeling as though I had been cheated; the final quarter felt to me to be tacked-on, and not fitting with the rest of the plot.

As for the supporting cast, the man in the picture above with Carol Lynley is Noel Coward, in the role of the Lakes' landlord. That's not his only function, though; watch for a funny scene in which we find that this landlord is also a pervert, asking the police to whip him!

Otto Preminger directed; if you miss the TCM showing, it's available on DVD.

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