Run time: 122 mins
In Theaters: Monday 11th October 1965
Distributed by: MGM Home Entertainment
Production compaines: Filmways Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 7
IMDB: 7.3 / 10
Director: Tony Richardson
Starring: Robert Morse as Dennis Barlow, Jonathan Winters as Wilbur Glenworthy, Anjanette Comer as Aimee Thanatogenos, Dana Andrews as Gen. Buck Brinkman, Milton Berle as Mr. Kenton, James Coburn as Immigration Officer, John Gielgud as Sir Francis Hinsley, Margaret Leighton as Mrs. Helen Kenton, Tab Hunter as Whispering Glades Tour Guide, Rod Steiger as Mr. Joyboy, Alan Napier as British Club Official, Robert Easton as Dusty Acres, Roddy McDowall as D.J.Jr., Robert Morley as Sir Ambrose Abercombie, Barbara Nichols as Sadie Blodgett, Lionel Stander as The Guru Brahmin, Bernie Kopell as Brahmin's Assistant, Paul Williams as Gunther Fry, Chick Hearn as Space-Burial Funeral Announcer, Ayllene Gibbons as Joyboy's Mother, Liberace as Whispering Glades Funeral Salesman
And what jokes they are! The very American Robert Morse stars as a British visitor to L.A., a wannabe poet who gets caught up in the machinations of a cemetary owner (Jonathan Winters) and his top mortician (Rod Steiger in the role of a lifetime). It's more cult than cemetary, and Morse soon becomes enchanted with one the cemetary's guide/beautician/chanteuse (a dippy Anajette Comer). The film haphazardly careens from subplot to subplot, eventually settling into a set piece about a kid obsessed with rockets, which Winters sees as the solution to the problem of running out of space for "loved ones" in the cemetary (aka corpses).
The film's tagline is "The motion picture with something to offend everyone!" and The Loved One tries its hardest to do so. It doesn't quite succeed -- the movie is rather tame today -- but it's certainly sarcastic and in deliciously poor taste, and terribly funny.
The black and white photography from Haskell Wexler is stark, reminiscent of Dr. Strangelove (as is the whole film -- with Winters in two roles), though some of the details get lost in the deep shadows. After an incredible wait, it's finally coming to DVD, featuring a retrospective documentary, and well worth picking up.