The Gazebo

1959

directed by: George Marshall  … again

And we’re really back. Debbie film #23 of 37.   This film was based around the inescapable truth: MURDER can be LIGHTHEARTED & FUNNY. What a sad weird film. I think this was supposed to be a dark comedy. But wow, what a terrible premise to base the film on.  It seemed as everyone in this film never decided how to play their characters, such as scenes where emotions should be scared, confused, hurt, worried, etc.  And that damn pigeon, but I’ll get to that later.

The Gazebo stars Glenn Ford AGAIN (terrible actor – see It Started with a Kiss) and Debbie as husband and wife living their days as a TV producer and Broadway star.  His best friend is a District Attorney played by a young Carl Reiner.  Totally believable up to this point…  Anyways, Ford is a dolt with zero redeeming qualities, no discernible talent at his job or in life, and possibly only saved/likable for his … uh… loyalty to his wife? Maybe? Otherwise, he is manic, paranoid, and irrational. And his REAL best friend is an actual pigeon. Totally the type to be married to Debbie as a Broadway musical star.  She was stunning in the film (they even did a fake musical within the movie scene) but totally hamstrung by the weak characterization and Ford’s “acting”.

The basic rub over the movie is Debbie took some dirty pictures when she was 18 and now (9 years later for some reason – based on her actual age) someone (again for some reason) is trying to blackmail Ford into paying him to keep them out of the papers. …Not that any paper in America would run nude photos in the ’50s or 2017.  So maybe out of Playboy.  Sure let’s run with that.  Okay…  so Ford reacts by trying to sell the house (because he has no savings for some reason).  Here are some other alternatives Glenn:  Fire your housekeeper and start cleaning your own damn house, Take out a loan, Take out a 2nd mortgage, Ask family, Ask friends like your well-to-do DA pal, tell your DA pal about the blackmail, ask your wife if she cares about the pictures.   But no. Debbie loves the house and doesn’t want to move. Okay fine.  Next alternative… obviously kill that motherf’in blackmailer dead in your own home.

In the end, all the blackmailers are dead, the pigeon flies away and they sell the house anyway.  The End.

Oh yeah and that titular Gazebo.  Nothing to do with anything really.

Martin Landau was in this film for a hot second and kidnapped Debbie Reynolds. Probably the most bizarre scene.  But neat to see him working.

Underrated actors: Martin Landau as a goon/thug.

 

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