The List of Adrian Messenger - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The List of Adrian Messenger Reviews

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August 31, 2017
Movies were so much MORE literally entertaining. Masterful Mystery.
December 3, 2016
This mystery-thriller from the legendary John Huston is fairly entertaining, but is probably most well known for the gimmick of featuring several star actors appearing in cameos under heave make-up. Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, Tony Curtis and Frank Sinatra were among the superstars who kept audiences trying to guess who they were in what were essentially cameo roles. George C. Scott and Kirk Douglas had more essential roles in this whodunit. Not a great film, but I found it amusing and entertaining, definitely worth a watch for fans of classic cinema.
November 15, 2016
Heavy makeup abounds here but it's a fun little mystery.
½ January 2, 2015
great mystery, unusual costuming of great movie stars ends with naming of the protagonists. won't be many movies like this b
September 12, 2013
A decent old-fashioned Holmes vs Moriarty murder mystery with George C. Scott as the detective & Kirk Douglas as a makeup-laden serial killer.
The narrative is quite slow in the middle but makes up for it in a climax in which many cameo stars appear in heavy makeup.
For it's time, the makeup effects are very good and the gimmick works quite well. Hitchcock would have made a masterpiece of this.
½ January 1, 2013
I love this movie! not just a gimmick but a good mystery too
December 8, 2012
Always loved this murder mystery flick with all the disguised big Hollywood stars. A favorite.
½ April 12, 2012
one of the best old movies I've ever seen!wouild love to get a copy for my collection!
½ February 12, 2012
It's super fun to see the cameos underneath all the makeup.
½ September 11, 2011
It's super fun to see the cameos underneath all the makeup.
½ May 1, 2011
This is an odd one. It may have seemed amusing to director John Huston to take five big film stars - Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas - and put them in extensive make-up so that they (except for Kirk Douglas who is allowed to show his face for a while) are not recognisable on screen, but you have to wonder if there was any real point in doing so. As their names go up at the start of the film it must have left audiences distracted from the film's very light plot as they try and figure out who is who. George C Scott is left to carry the film and can't do much with the rather convoluted mystery.
February 17, 2011
John Huston displays an indiscreet lack of subtlety, taxing our tolerance with a somewhat modern English whodunit with an extra publicity stunt: Numerous major Hollywood actors are announced to appear in the film, but are all thickly concealed in John Chambers' make-up design: Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Tony Curtis as an organ-grinder, Burt Lancaster as an old woman, Frank Sinatra as a gypsy horse-trader. Their identities are exposed to the audience at the very end of the film, when each star strips off his masquerade. Actually, only Douglas (by far the most interesting performance) and Mitchum do any real acting beneath their heaps of collodion and crepe hair. The others just walk on to shoot their brief, tacked-on unveilings at a salary of $75,000 each, while being doubled in the film itself. The film even further cheats by often dubbing their voices with that of voice-over actor Paul Frees!

The vehicle for this cash-in is a plot wherein the eponymous writer believes a succession of ostensibly isolated "accidental" deaths are really related murders. He asks his friend George C. Scott, just retired from MI5, to help resolve the obscurity, but Messenger's plane is sabotaged while he's on the way to gather data to corroborate his fears and, with his last lungful of air, he struggles to impart to a fellow passenger a crucial clue. What do you know, the passenger just so happens to be the sole survivor and‚¶just so happens to be Scott's old WWII Resistance comrade. They collaborate to probe Messenger's inventory of names, and decipher his puzzling last gasps. Aside from the ones that insult us, more than a few story aspects in the film are akin to The Hound of the Baskervilles, like hounds, the intentions of the killer, the allusions to Canada, and the exposure of the killer using a hoax.

While we discover rather soon who the killer is, the obscurity of his intentions and the anticipation of his capture are enough to keep going, even if not gripped by genuine tension or suspense. Burdened with a rasping, implausible plot, maybe this lockstep adventure should've been set in Victorian times to oblige its villain with an infatuation with costumes, its Edwardian-style consulting sleuth in a bowler hat, and its foul play in a misty Thames Path.

There is something I quite liked, maybe because it took the edge off, made me relax and enjoy the kitsch. Before the haunting trumpet solos of Chinatown, the strange and threatening cues of Alien or the atmospheric strings of Basic Instinct, a comparatively green-horned Jerry Goldsmith shaped an evocative, and purely '60s-kitsch, ambiance out of an instrumental jumble incorporating saxophone, electric guitar, tuba, harp and the definitive eerie UFO-suggestive electronic whistle that creates nostalgic vibes as when we hear it in The Lost Weekend, Spellbound and BBC's Midsomer Murders.
December 26, 2010
A who done it about a crafty murderer who resorts to disguises to eliminate nearly a dozen people. A writer named Adrian Messenger (John Merivale) believes a series of apparently unrelated "accidental" deaths are actually linked murders. He asks his friend Anthony Gethryn (George C. Scott), recently retired from MI5, to help clear up the mystery

The plot's routine in conception and excecution, but the fun here is to see if you can spot some stellar names--- Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra. All these folks made up in funny faces. Should provide a good time to mystery buffs.

Directed by John Huston
Produced by Edward Lewis
Written by Anthony Veiller (screenplay)

Kirk Douglas
George C Scott
Dana Wynter
Jacques Roux
John Merivale

Music by Jerry Goldsmith
½ October 4, 2010
Quaint but still typically subversive, as is to be expected by Huston. Scott has a lot of fun in the lead roles, but I'm not sure that all of the cameos are strictly legit throughout the film proper. There are a few that look a bit different when they are "revealed" at the end. Best thing about the film is easily Goldsmith's score - it really elevates everything to a higher level. Overall it's a disposable but fun curio.
January 27, 2010
Una pelicula casi olvidada de John Huston , resulta interesante descifrar que actores son los que estàn disfrazados (Curtis,Lancaster,Sinatra,Mitchum) buena cinematografia al estilo Huston.
August 1, 2009
Must See Mystery!
I Love a mystery and as previoiusly stated this is many mysteries within a mystery. Still today, I often forget and have to wait for the revealed characters to recognize the corresponding actor.
Few Frank Sinatra Fair showcase his potential as an actor as well as watch.
Creative Casting!
July 24, 2009
A truly mysterious murder mystery with a great cast and an excellent twist.
½ April 3, 2009
one of the best old movies I've ever seen!wouild love to get a copy for my collection!
½ March 15, 2009
This is one of the most bizarre mainstream movies ever made. It's almost a disaster but it's too interesting to be that. We get unnecessary stunt-casting, bad accents, evil Canadians and a plot only George C. Scott can figure out. With a cast like this and a great director, one would figure a good movie would result but this mess is just fascinating (and entertaining) in it's "what the hell were they thinking?"-ness.
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