Sunday, December 13, 2015

Movie review - "The Yellow Canary" (1963) **

Pat Boone tried to change his image in the early 60s with The Main Attraction and this movie, where he plays an egotistical, selfish pop idol  fond of the bottle whose son is kidnapped. Fox stumped up serious cash to pay for his fee, the rights to a novel, and a script by Rod Serling... but then Zanuck took over the studio and parcelled the project off on low budget producer Robert Lippert.

You know something? I don't think Zanuck was wrong. It's hard to see this being massively successful with colour, cinemascope and a bigger co star name than Barbara Eden. It's a down beat noir-ish tale so so black and white and a lower budget suit it (though I'm sure Boone didn't think so).

Serling's script isn't that great, full of flowery dialogue. It lacks atmosphere and suspense. There's no scene where we see Boone and/or Barbara Eden with the kid before he's kidnapped so there's no real emotional connection. The various suspects blend into one, there's too much of the droning jazzy soundtrack and the re-awakening-of-romance between him and Eden is poorly done (I know they're worried about their kid but they could have had at least a scene about their relationship).

It is interesting to see Pat Boone try a different sort of part and he's not bad - but he's not an egomaniac for very long, as he spends most of the movie worried about his kid. It's a but yuck how he proves himself a man at the end by blowing away Steve Forrest - that might have meant more with more of a build up.

Out of the support cast Jack Klugman comes off best as the cop on the case.

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