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Sextette

USA 1978
produced by
Daniel Briggs, Robert Sullivan, Warner G.Toub (executive) for Crown International
directed by Ken Hughes
starring Mae West, Timothy Dalton, Dom DeLuise, Tony Curtis, Ringo Starr, George Hamilton, Alice Cooper, Keith Allison, Rona Barrett, Van McCoy, Keith Moon, Regis Philbin, Walter Pidgeon, George Raft, Gil Stratton, Harry Weiss, Rick Leonard, June Fairchild, George E. Carey, Ed Beheler, Derek Murcott, William Beckley, Ed Nes, Jay B.Larson, Richard Peel, Ian Abercrombie, James Bacon, Peter Alexander, Jill Freeman, Jason Cooper, Calvin Bartlett, Brent Williams, Brian Abadie, Ric Drasin, Danny Gable, Reg Lewis, Jim Morris, Kal Szkalak, Jim Tarleton, John Austin, Klair Bybe, Roger Callard
screenplay by Herbert Baker, based on the play Sextet by Mae West, music by Artie Butler

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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American movie bombshell Marlo Manners (Mae West) has just married her sixth husband, Lord Michael Barrington (Timothy Dalton) in London and the two spend their wedding night in a posh hotel, right next-door to an international peace conference - unfortunately, a final declaration  of the conference is blocked by the Russian ambassador Alexei (Tony Curtis), Marlo's third husband, and he is only willing to rethink his decision for a date with Marlo ... and her agent Turner (Dom DeLuise), who also has ties with the CIA, desperately (and in the end successfully) tries to convince her to give in to Alexei's demands.

Then there is Marlo's fourth husband, director Laszlo (Beatles drummer Ringo Starr), who desperately wants to shoot another film with her, a dress designer (The Who drummer Keith Moon) who insists she tries on his dresses exactly at her wedding night, Marlo's fifth husband, the thought-dead gangster Vance Norton (George Hamilton), who insists she's still married to him (and she can't tell if she divorced him if her life depended on it - and incidently it does), a tape with her memoirs that would embarass half the world leaders at the peace conference (which of course is ultimately played at the conference), the American Olympic team, ... all things destined to keep Marlo and Lord Barrington from consummating their marriage - to a point where Barrington just leaves their hotel and retreats to his yacht ... but ultimately, Marlo puts a few wrongs right, takes care of the whole situation, and in the end, she follows Barrington to his yacht, where they can you-know-what undisturbed by the outer world ...

Rocker Alice Cooper plays a waiter who is allowed to sing a romantic (but forgettable) song towards the end.

 

Mae West's very last film, and apparently she was getting on a bit by 1978 ... but considering she was 85 (!!!) when this was made and her role would demand a woman half her age max, she's doing amazingly well (and doesn't look a day older than 60), and most of her oneliners - including her legendary "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me", a quote that she made famour in 1936, but never used in a film until Sextette - are still as provocative as ever and spot-on. Unfortunately though, this is more than one could say about the film's direction which simply enough fails to realize the comic and provocative potential of the script and often enough wastes the comic potential of a scene (including some of West's great oneliners) in favour of cheap sight-gags. And then, there are those terrible disco musical numbers ... Timothy Dalton simply can't sing, Alice Cooper's talent is completely wasted in disco, and Mae West handles her songs better than could be expected from someone aged 85 - but that doesn't change the fact that the songs are terribly arranged and terribly written.

Mae West would have deserved a much better film as her last ever film (she died two years after this), still it's thrilling to see a woman of her age still on the top of the game ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD