Wicked Wicked (1973)

I’m constantly on the hunt for certain movies. Ever since I saw the trailer for this — the only film to ever be shot in Duo-Vision — I’ve been on the hunt. Finally, in an Exchange store on a Sunday afternoon, my patience was rewarded.

The Grandview is one of those gorgeous California hotels that you dream of living the rest of your life in, Telly Savalas style. But there’s one big problem — any blonde female who checks in never leaves. I’d make a Hotel California joke here, but that just seems too easy.

Trivia note: This is really the Hotel del Coronado, where Some Like It Hot was shot.

David Bailey, from TV’s Another World, plays hotel detective Rick Stewart, who is busy with old women who don’t pay their rent and overly amorous beachfront lotharios. Soon, he’s on the trail of the killer, which gets more personal when his ex-wife Lisa James (Tiffany Bolling, The Candy Snatchers) shows up to sing at the Grandview and promptly dyes her brunette hair blonde. Whoops.

This song is the best part of the film. Becca and I have been singing it to one another ever since we watched this.

Writer/director Richard L. Bare — who holds the record for directing the most successive number of television shows (168 episodes of Green Acres) — planned to follow up this film with another Duo-Vision movie called October Incident, which was about trying to kill Castro. The gimmick wasn’t well received so the movie was canceled.

I’d best compare Duo-Vision to the way that Ang Lee shot his version of The Hulk. The other screen often shows what’s in someone’s mind or reveals the truth of what they’re talking about. The story probably wouldn’t be anything I’d seek out if it wasn’t for Duo-Vision, but I’m glad we have this in our collection. It’s one of the rare movies we’ve seen that reveals the killer almost instantly yet remains interesting.

More trivia: Aside from the songs that Bolling sings, the film’s soundtrack is mostly made up of the piano score from 1925’s silent Phantom of the Opera. And thanks to DVD Drive-In’s George Reis, I now know that Charles B. Pierce of The Town That Dreaded Sundown fame was the set decorator!

Thanks to the Warner Archive for restoring this oddball film. I wish I had seen it on the big screen and hope to get the chance one day!

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