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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Once You Kiss A Stranger (1969)

A psychotic young woman (Carol Lynley) has a one night stand with a famous but married pro golfer (Paul Burke). During their encounter, she proposes she kills his rival (Philip Carey) in the golf tournament and in return, he kills her psychiatrist (Whit Bissell) who plans on having her committed. He treats it as a joke but when his rival turns up murdered, she demands he fulfill his part of the bargain. If this sound familiar, it's because it uses the same source material (the Patricia Highsmith novel) that Hitchcock used for STRANGERS ON A TRAIN. Needless to say, it's no where near the level of the Hitchcock classic. In the Hitchcock film, the dupe (played by Farley Granger) was sympathetic whereas Burke's character is a jerk. In fact, the only sympathetic character is Martha Hyer who plays Burke's wife. The film lacks the tension and tautness of the 1951 film. There's no equivalent of the tennis match or the cigarette lighter sequence or the daring carousel finale in this one. The film is pretty tawdry to look at. It's overly bright (nary a shadow in the film) with decor and costumes in garish colors. Lynley is actually quite good, so it's a pity she didn't have a better vehicle. With Stephen McNally, Peter Lind Hayes, Ann Doran, Kathryn Givney and Elaine Devry.

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