Tuesday, September 25, 2007
This 1973 film was co-written by actor/PSYCHO Anthony Perkins (gay) and musical theater legend Stephen Sondheim (gay). Directed by Herbert Ross (not gay, but was a choreographer, and also directed STEEL MAGNOLIAS and was married to Jackie O's sister!) and it turns to be quite a gay old time! Especially since the Bette Midler song "Friends" was originally recorded for the soundtrack. Who knew?
The plot involves powerful Hollywood producer Clinton Green (the ever-frightening James Coburn) and his manipulative game of "who's who" that he somehow manages to get his "friends" to play over the course of a week...all while crusing the Mediterranean on his luxurious boat.
His friends just happen to include an sexy up-and-coming actress (Raquel Welch), her sexy English boyfriend (Ian McShane), a messy showbiz agent (Dyan Cannon), a very gay-looking writer (Richard Benjamin), his stuffy rich wife (Joan Hackett), and a cranky gay-ish old director (James Mason). A great cast and a great set up - so far, so gay.
We learn that a year earlier, after a cocktail party, (seen in flashback) there was a hit-and-run accident that resulted in the death of gossip columnist Sheila Green, who was also Clinton's wife! The plot thickens...
Clinton dubs the cruise "The Sheila Green Memorial Gossip Game" and hands out index cards containing a secret that each player must keep concealed from the others. The object of this sick and twisted palour game is to figure out everyone else's secret while protecting your own from being discovered. Okay - sounds like fun. I guess it's better than Cranium.
Okay, this is where it gets ridiculous - each night one of the six secrets is revealed to all the players, then they are given a cyptic clue, which will help them detect which player has the card with that night's secret. Ouch - my head hurts. I should not have to think this hard while watching a damn movie!!!
The gossip cards reveal things like "You are a SHOPLIFTER," "You are a HOMOSEXUAL" and of course "You are a HIT-AND-RUN KILLER." You can guess where this is going - one by one - as the cards are revealed, we learn that they are actually about one of the OTHER players. What's started out as fun (?) has become a game of intense paranoia, with lots of delicious revelations and red herrings along the way. Oh yeah - then there's a murder!
The cast is enjoyable, especially Dyan Cannon, who I think they really tried to drown during the filming. If not, she's a better actress than I ever thought. Richard Benjamin has the gayest moustache and wardrobe ever committed to film, hmmm....wonder if he is given the "You are a HOMOSEXUAL" card?
So, in conclusion, if you just love a good mystery and MURDER SHE WROTE reruns on the Biography Channel (what's THAT all about?) aren't cutting it for you, check out SHEILA. 7 out of 10 "Huhs?"