The Loved One

  • 1965
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy

This spoof of morticians and funerals captures much of the macabre hilarity in the Waugh novel but failed to impress critics at the time of release. It often sinks into broad burlesque due to Southern and Isherwood's heavy-handed script, but the laughs are still there. Morse, a naive, rather gawky character from England, visits his uncle, Gielgud, an aging,...read more

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This spoof of morticians and funerals captures much of the macabre hilarity in the Waugh novel but failed to impress critics at the time of release. It often sinks into broad burlesque due to Southern and Isherwood's heavy-handed script, but the laughs are still there. Morse, a naive,

rather gawky character from England, visits his uncle, Gielgud, an aging, fussy art director living in a dilapidated Hollywood mansion. When his studio fires him, Gielgud hangs himself. Robert Morley, head of the British community of Hollywood talent, arrives and instructs Morse to arrange to have

Gielgud buried at Whispering Glades Memorial Park (the real-life Forest Lawn), the most resplendant funeral grounds in America, run by Winters. In the process of contacting morticians, Morse obtains a job at a pet cemetery run by Winters' twin brother (also played by Winters), and the various

schemes, scams, and lack of concern by morticians for both humans and pets are revealed in all their callous glories. A host of bizarre characters then parade through Morse's life, including Comer, a sultry, naive beauty he covets and who is lusted after by Winters (the one running the high-class

mortuary) and Steiger, a crackpot cosmetologist who works with her. Comer is repelled by Steiger's obese and gluttonous mother and is almost won over by Morse who reads poetry (stolen from Steiger) to her. Then Comer's ideals are smashed by Winters, head of Whispering Glades, when he tries to

seduce her, and she commits suicide by injecting herself with embalming fluid. A further plot develops when Morse discovers that Winters, in collusion with Andrews, an Air Force general, plans to get rid of all the bodies on his property by sending them into space, so he can transform his cemetery

into a luxurious spa for retirees, making even more millions. He is foiled by Morse who replaces the body of a dead astronaut, the first to be shot into space, with Comer's comely corpse. Having exposed Winters and sent him to ruin, Morse returns to England to try to forget his morbid, morose, and

strange experience in America. Morse is unappealing, but the supporting players, especially Winters, and bits performed by Stander, Coburn, and Hunter are very funny.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This spoof of morticians and funerals captures much of the macabre hilarity in the Waugh novel but failed to impress critics at the time of release. It often sinks into broad burlesque due to Southern and Isherwood's heavy-handed script, but the laughs are… (more)

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