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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Five Golden Hours (1961)

Set in Italy, an undertaker (Ernie Kovacs) has a routine of seducing the wealthy widows of recently deceased gentlemen and living off them, taking money and gifts. But the tables are turned when he becomes besotted by the beautiful but devious widow (Cyd Charisse) of an impoverished Baron. He cons his widows out of their money to support the Baroness. But she has a few ideas of her own and they don't include the undertaker! This black comedy courtesy of director Mario Zampi (LAUGHTER IN PARADISE) is only intermittently amusing. It takes awhile for the film to get its comedic rhythm going and by then the film is almost half over. Kovacs was one of the great comedians of the 1950s but he wasn't much of an actor and this film begs for a Peter Sellers in the part. Still, the sequence when Kovacs plans to kill three widows at the same time is quite hilarious. It's a pity the film was shot, by Christopher Challis (TWO FOR THE ROAD), in black and white as the gorgeous Italian locations cry out for Technicolor. With George Sanders as a mental patient, Ron Moody (OLIVER!), Kay Hammond, Dennis Price, Finlay Currie, Martin Benson and Marianne Stone.

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