The Legend Of Lylah Clare

  • 1968
  • Movie
  • X
  • Drama

Originally a teleplay presented on NBC's "DuPont Show of the Week," this is a pretty good drama with some stand-out acting and will attract those who enjoy the 1980s brand of TV soap opera. Novak plays two roles: one is a young Chicago actress (which she was in real life), and the other is a legendary dead movie queen. She's hired by Selzer to play the...read more

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Originally a teleplay presented on NBC's "DuPont Show of the Week," this is a pretty good drama with some stand-out acting and will attract those who enjoy the 1980s brand of TV soap opera. Novak plays two roles: one is a young Chicago actress (which she was in real life), and the other

is a legendary dead movie queen. She's hired by Selzer to play the late actress in an upcoming film biography if Finch, husband of the dead star, can be convinced that she's the woman who can handle it. Finch reluctantly meets with Novak and is struck by the similarity between this sweet, young

thing and his late wife. Finch hasn't worked since his wife died on their wedding night, but he is soon eager to direct Novak in the film and appeals to Borgnine, the studio chief, for financing. Borgnine agrees, and Finch begins to mold Novak into the same personality as his late wife. She balks

at first but realizes this is a chance she may never have again, so she allows herself to be manipulated until she is almost becoming the dead woman. Soon enough Novak and Finch are lovers, a fact that does not go unnoticed by Falk, the housekeeper, who pays unusual attention to their trysts. Falk

is a drug addict and a lesbian and was the dead actress's dialog coach until her death. Novak, by this time, thinks she really is Finch's former wife and insults powerful movie gossip columnist Browne in much the same way Clare did. Novak now realizes that Finch doesn't love her but cherishes the

memory of his late wife. Her manner of retaliation is to have an affair with the handsome gardener, Tinti. When Finch learns of this, he changes the end of the film, writing in a scene that puts Novak in jeopardy--a dangerous trapeze stunt which she will probably not survive. Both women suffer

from vertigo, a fact of which Finch is well aware. Novak falls to her death, and the last moments of Clare's life are revealed. We see that Finch killed her when he learned that she and Falk were having a lesbian liaison. He pushed her down a flight of stairs, and she went into film history. Finch

leaves the studio and returns home, filled with a mixture of grief and guilt for having killed the only two women he's ever loved. He reaches home, where Falk is waiting for him with a loaded gun. Before she fires the fatal shot, the picture ends. THE LEGEND OF LYLAH CLARE combines Aldrich's eerie

direction with a script that takes pot-shots at the movie business. The elements work from time to time but clash more often. This was Novak's return to the screen after a two-year absence, and she does a fine job. The supporting cast is uniformly good, especially Italian actress Falk, who is

frighteningly evil. The gowns by Renie are excellent, and all technical credits are good. Hollywood spent a lot of time trying to figure out who the characters were based upon, but that was fruitless since so many resemble the characters played by Novak, Finch, Selzer, and Borgnine.

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  • Review: Originally a teleplay presented on NBC's "DuPont Show of the Week," this is a pretty good drama with some stand-out acting and will attract those who enjoy the 1980s brand of TV soap opera. Novak plays two roles: one is a young Chicago actress (which she w… (more)

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