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Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Gazebo (1959)

When a television writer (Glenn Ford) is contacted by a sleazy blackmailer (Stanley Adams) threatening to sell nude photos of the writer's actress wife (Debbie Reynolds) to the tabloids unless he's paid $25,000, instead of paying him off, the writer decides to kill him instead and bury him in the garden's gazebo. But everything that could go wrong, goes wrong. Based on a minor Broadway comedy by Alec Coppel, it just isn't very funny. Coppel had written the screenplay to VERTIGO the year before and includes a running in joke on Hitchcock in the film's script. Ford has a talent for understated comedy but a farceur he isn't and it's pretty sad seeing Ford running breathlessly around like a chicken with its head cut off desperately trying to get laughs. Reynolds, on the other hand, can do farce but with the occasional exception (like dialing a phone with her nose), the comedy falls on Ford's shoulders. She looks great however especially in her Oscar nominated Helen Rose costumes. Directed by George Marshall. With Martin Landau, Carl Reiner, Bert Freed, Mabel Albertson and John McGiver.

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