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USA 1967
Directed by
Joseph Mankiewicz
126 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Honey Pot

Joseph Mankiewicz was one of the leading lights of Hollywood’s educated and artistically developed “European” contingent and The Honey Pot, based on Ben Jonson's Volpone fits well within his remit. A wealthy idler (Rex Harrison) living in Venice invites three women (Susan Hayward, Capucine, and Edie Adams) from his past to his palazzo with the news that he is dying and wants to make his will. This, pace Volpone, is an elaborate ruse and he hires an out-of-work actor (Cliff Robertson) to assist him by playing his secretary. But then the game gets out of hand and real bodies start appearing and Maggie Smith’s lady’s companion sets out to find the killer.   

Mankiewicz’s film is a classic stage whodunit, full of delicious plot twists and delighting in its cleverness. And that it is, with Rex Harrison in fine form as the ring-master, supported by a capable cast. Although Maggie Smith is a fine actress she is a rather incongruous choice to play what is in effect the principal female as her rather unappealing looks hardly provide much of a lure to Cliff Robertson’s secretary as the plot requires.

Stylistically, with its celebrity cast and Technicolor production values, it is typical of 60s mainstream comedies. In this respect it is almost anachronistic for 1967 but with a superior script and a well-chosen director, it is an enjoyably amusing cabinet piece.

FYI: The film was originally released at 155mins and appears in various running times

DVD Extras: None.

Available from: Shock Entertainment




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