The Legend of Lylah Clare - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Legend of Lylah Clare Reviews

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½ January 24, 2016
I originally saw this movie when it opened in Hollywood in 1968, and was baffled. What could have drawn major stars like Kim Novak and Peter Finch into this bizarre, uneven, amateurish-looking production? People now try to pass it off as a satire, but it was presented straight back then. Kim Novak is terrible at playing this "legendary" actress, and having a ridiculously deep, Germanic voice suddenly emerge from somewhere in her innards is laughable whenever it happens, which is too often. Much is made of some mysterious "fall" that propelled the legendary Lylah to her death. Since a prominent feature of her former home is a dangerous, monumental staircase (without any safety railings) that would never pass any building code inspection, it's difficult not to assume that somebody is eventually going to fall from that staircase, maybe even the possessed(?) reincarnated(?) Lylah impersonator herself. The incoherent plot is jumbled with too many similar characters -- lots of mannish lesbians lurk about -- and never makes the slightest bit of sense. I really hated this movie both times I saw it, separated by 40 years.
Super Reviewer
June 12, 2014
Yak yak yak yak yak yak yak stab stab yak yak yak yak yak yak.
June 10, 2014
Extremely talky drama that needed to be better edited. Ive never been a big Novak fan, see BELL BOOK & CANDLE instead.
½ March 28, 2014
The over-the-top theatrics of director Robert Aldrich's "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" and "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" were much better suited to those films, but tonally, it doesn't work as well in this film except on an unintentionally funny camp level. I really wanted to like this film as straight melodrama because of my love of star Kim Novak and director Aldrich, but the film unfortunately just doesn't work. The story involves a film director hiring an unknown actress to play the part of his deceased wife in a biopic he plans to film. The story seemed like it could have worked along the same lines of Baby Jane, where Aldrich managed to suck the audience into this strange insular world so far that the absurdities of the story become part of what made the film work. In this film, Aldrich doesn't quite succeed in crafting that same surreal atmosphere where absurd situations seem fitting. Hitchcock was able to do this with Novak in a similar makeover part in "Vertigo." This film is lavishly filmed and has a terrific cast, which also includes Ernest Borgnine and uncredited cameos by George Kennedy and Dick Miller. Novak is gorgeous in probably her sexiest role, but it's too bad it was in such a silly film. Overall, it's a lot of talent struggling to salvage a good film that tonally just doesn't work. It is worth watching for camp value or if you're a Novack or Aldrich fan, even if it's not their best work, but stick with Aldrich's Hush Hush or Baby Jane for grotesque melodrama and stick with his "The Big Knife" for a good self relative Hollywood behind the scenes film.
March 17, 2013
Sometimes I think "why did I waste my time?" Or "can I have those two hours back?" This could have been appealing -- another movie about making movies, but this time Robert Aldrich was to be throwing acid on Hollywood oh so campily. But it doesn't work. Instead, Kim Novak playing an ingenue who is starring in a biopic of a look-alike star from 25 years earlier for the same love-stricken director is a recipe for a train-wreck. Enough said.
July 25, 2012
from the 'whatever happened 2 baby jane?" director
April 5, 2012
THE LEGEND OF LYLAH CLARE (1968) is one of the most exhilarating and brilliant of Robert Aldrich's films. Self-reflexive ( for example THE DIRTY DOZEN is seen showing at a movie theater), trashy, nihilistic, and cynical, it plays as a demented cross between Wilder's SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)-- which it openly references-- and Lynch's MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001). It's one of the great fuck yous to the culture industry of Hollywood which is basically equated to a dog food commercial (that makes more sense when you see the conclusion). Everyone in the film is entirely disgusting and amoral. Choice dialogue from Ernest Borgnine who plays slime-bag studio mogul, "Films"? "Films"? What the hell ever happened to movies? What do you think you're in, the art business?"
Super Reviewer
½ January 19, 2011
Dreadful film with Kim giving a somnambulant performance. Some nice costumes and sets but a truly lousy script and terrible direction from Aldrich sink it.
½ August 14, 2008
Bad accent, very camp...A true guilty plasure.
August 13, 2008
Robert Aldrich's camp classic certainly has its moments, but doesn't quite live up to its lurid reputation. Peter Finch and Ernest Borgnine lead a great cast through the hilariously over-the-top script - but as the film's enigmatic central figure, Kim Novak falls short. Much too slowly placed, it takes a long time to get to the psychological weirdness promised by the premise, and even then it doesn't quite go far enough. The ridiculous ending almost makes up for it all.
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