Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Day 39: "Bunny Lake Is Missing"

Director: Otto Preminger 1965
Two of my favorite movies are Preminger's "Laura" and "Anatomy of a Murder," and several others are first-rate entertainments ("Advise and Consent," "In Harm's Way"). Sadly, "Bunny Lake" should remain among the missing. An intriguing premise--a young American woman in London drops her four-year-old daughter off on her first day at pre-school, only to return a few hours later to discover no one ever saw the child. Carol Lynley plays the mom, Keir Dullea her brother, and Laurence Olivier a police inspector who suspects the child never existed. The movie seems to drift along. Olivier is wasted. Noel Coward plays a pervy landlord who claims to own the Marquis de Sade's whip. And Dullea appears catatonic at times. The ending is preposterous and a major letdown.
Andrew Sarris considers "Bunny Lake" one of Preminger's "four masterpieces of ambiguity and objectivity" (the others: "Laura," "Bonjour Tristesse" and "Advise and Consent"). I have the highest regard for Mr. Sarris, but if you're not in the mood for ambiguity and objectivity--if perhaps you just want to watch a good movie--"Bunny Lake" is not for you.
According to the IMDB, "Bunny Lake" may be remade with Reese Witherspoon. Why?


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