They don’t make movies like this anymore

So my friend RJ had The Last of Sheila in her queue on Netflix and on impulse I put it in mine. Wow. What a clever, literate, well-done film. Stephen Sondheim (yes, that Sondheim and no, this is not a musical) and Anthony Perkins (yes, the actor) wrote the script. Cast: the incomparable James Mason, Dyan Cannon, James Coburn, Ian McShane, Joan Hackett, Richard Benjamin, and Raquel Welch. The weak link in the actors is Welch, but she doesn’t have the biggest part, and her costars more than make up for her.

It’s a mystery movie that requires you to pay attention. There are visual and spoken clues all over the place, and if you pay attention, you can solve the puzzle yourself.

Sheila Greene is dead. Her husband, Clinton (Coburn) has invited his friends–all of whom were present at the party where she died (accidentally? or not?)–for a week on his yacht in the South of France. He’s devised a game that they’re all going to play. The game takes an unexpected turn and suddenly the guests are playing it for real.

I can’t say more without spoiling the movie. DVD only has a couple of extras. The commentary track is worth listening to–again Welch is the lightweight, but the stuff from Cannon and Benjamin is really fascinating stuff.

Go rent this film.

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