Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Movie review - "All Pretty Maids in a Row" (1970) **1/2

Odd combination of black comedy, murder mystery and TNA as cheerleaders start turning up murdered at an American high school. It was Roger Vadim's first Hollywood movie, made at MGM when it was under James Aubrey, who was apparently a womaniser himself so presumably enjoyed having the famous lady killer director under contract.

Vadim doesn't have any of his famous lady friends in the cast, although Angie Dickinson is very sexy in a cougar way (as she often was in the 70s - very happy to strip in a good cause was Angie) as a school teacher. Her part actually isn't strictly needed story wise - it's more a subplot: footy coach and teacher Rock Hudson (very good) encourages her to seduce one of his students, a nerdish kid who assists him with the team. The bulk of the storyline though involves the murder investigation by Tely Savalas (superb as a cop), and wondering whether Hudson - who sleeps with lots of students  - is involved.

Occasionally the direction is "over pervy" (as Vadim could be) and its disappointing none of the girls that Hudson sleeps with is given much of a character - they are all into him and that's it. (Also his wife Barbara Leigh and fellow teacher Dickinson also find him irresistible without much variation).

But the film's sheer wildness and oddness does make it compelling, and Vadim has a nice eye for composition. There's a fun support cast including Roddy McDowall, James Doohan and Keenan Wynn.

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