The Loved One
Screenplay: Terry Southern and Christopher Isherwood
Release: Warner Archive
The poster tag-line for Tony Richardson’s The Loved One is, “The Motion Picture with Something to Offend Everyone.” The only offence I could take was over the loss of my time.
The funeral business gets a giant raspberry in this wickedly wacky, resplendently ridiculous farce based on Evelyn Waugh’s macabre comic masterpiece and directed with inspired verve by Tony Richardson (Tom Jones). But the American way of death isn’t the film’s only target: sex, greed, religion and mother love are also in the crosshairs of its satirical shots. Robert Morse plays a bemused would-be poet who gets entangled with an unctuous cemetery entrepreneur (Jonathan Winters), a mom-obsessed mortician (Rod Steiger) and other bizarre characters played by such adept farceurs as John Gielgud, Robert Morley, Tab Hunter, Milton Berle, James Coburn and Liberace. If The Loved One doesn’t make you laugh, call the undertaker!
I appreciate the intent but around fifty minutes into the film I started doing something else. I may have giggled at a face-plant-onto-food gag but that was all this view could remember. That’s not really fair but there is so little value-added for me to impart much attention.
If there is an audience for this film I am not aware of it, but for the Warner Archive to issue this on a good looking Blu-ray it has to be out there. I suppose it is worth noting that the quality of the restoration is high but there are better options for that.
- Trying to Offend Everyone (480i; 1.33:1; 15:12)
- Trailer (1080p; 1.78:1; 4:33)
Director: 5 – Cinematography: 5 – Edit: 5 – Parity: 1 – Main performance: 6 – Else performance: 2 – Score: 5 – Sound: 5 – Story: 3 – Script: 4 – Effects: 4 – Design: 8 – Costumes: 4 – Keeps interest: 1 – Lasting: 0