Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1960s Collection: The Notorious Landlady (1962)

What a pedigree this movie has:

It’s written by Blake Edwards (the director of Operation PetticoatBreakfast at Tiffany’sDays of Wine and Roses, the Pink Panther movies, 10Victor/VictoriaMicki & MaudeBlind Date) and Larry Gelbart (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumTootsie and the creator of the M*A*S*H* TV show), and was directed by Richard Quine, who also made Bell, Book and CandleHow to Murder Your Wife).

How about this cast? Jack Lemmon as diplomat Bill Gridley, Fred Astaire* as his boss Franklyn Ambruster and an effervescent Kim Novak as Carly Hardwicke, the titular landlady, a woman who all of her neighbors believe killed her last husband, Miles. Sure, there was no body, but there’s plenty of evidence.

You can excuse Bill, who falls for Carly immediately because Novak is just so charming in this movie. Everyone man that meets her falls under her spell. Yet is she a killer? That’s why Scotland Yard wants Bill to spy on Carly, but there’s no way he can stay objective.

How weird is it that every time Lemmon and Novak teamed up on screen — Phffft! and Bell, Book and Candle**would be two other examples — she played a landlady?

And keep your eyes open, TV fans, as this was shot on the so-called Columbia Ranch, the same location as the fountain from the beginning of the show Friends.

*As a former performer in movie musicals, Quine has some smart direction here, as every time Astaire appears, he walks to the camera, much as if he’s getting the opportunity to dance. While he was retired from dancing movies, he still does his own stunts in the scene where his character follows Novak through the bad side of town.

**There are a ton of references to this movie throughout The Notorious Landlady.

Mill Creek’s new Through the Decades: 1960s Collection has twelve movies: How to Ruin a Marriage and Save Your Life, The Notorious Landlady, Under the Yum Yum Tree, The Chase, Good Neighbor Sam, Baby the Rain Must Fall, Mickey One, Lilith, Genghis Khan, Luv, Who Was That Lady? and Hook, Line and Sinker. You can get it from Deep Discount.

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