It plays as if Richardson, the writers and the actors kept coming up with bits that sounded outrageous to them and then filmed them, without giving a thought as to how it was all going to fit together. Some of the bits, like a sequence where Air Force generals cavort with hookers popping out of caskets, show the unmistakable hand of Terry Southern, even if the hyped-up presentation sacrifices the way Southern wrote about the most outlandish things in a tone of perfect reasonableness.
As the ostensible lead, a British poet who comes to Los Angeles to visit his uncle and winds up working in a pet cemetery, Robert Morse is more like a dazed guest star. As a studio chief afraid only of his legendary mogul father, Roddy McDowall in a role possibly based on Richard Zanuck sends out lethal rays of self-absorption: Woe to anyone who wastes his time or bores him.
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Rod Steiger is almost frighteningly immersed in the role of Mr. Joyboy, a preening corpse cosmetician. As a fawning casket salesman, Liberace suggests a finger sandwich flavored with vinegar. We get it: you like to have control of your own internet experience. But advertising revenue helps support our journalism.
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The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh
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