Former film star Gloria Gibson is shocked to see a man hanging from a tree in her backyard – a replication of a scene from one of her old movies. Is she hallucinating, or is someone trying to freak her out? The Angels take the case, soon discovering her dire economic situation: after her husband’s death, she took some time off, and her agent hasn’t exactly been besieged with offers. But now she’s in the remake of one of her old chestnuts, playing the mother this time, with the Angels undercover on the set. Finally, after an all-too-obvious act of trailer-arson, a failed spotlight drop and a lot of gunplay up in the rafters, our fair heroines discover the truth: the culprits are Gibson’s erstwhile art director, prop master and even… agents, all in cahoots with her deceased husband to smuggle an authentic Botticelli fresco into her estate from Italy. Scaring he out of her wits, and into bankruptcy? Necessary, since her death would put her home into probate; an eviction would make the art-grab nice and simple.
Interesting enough mystery has much going for it – including its beguiling lead character - before sacrificing all its merits to a pretty dumb dénouement. Really? Art smuggling? After a nifty tribute to Sunset Boulevard, All About Eve and all those other great dramas about aging film stars struggling to keep that star shining in a changing Hollywood? The casting of actual elder idol Ida Lupino is inspired in and of itself, and the writers even give her a fantastic scene in which she “auditions” for the producer of a remake she’s considered for, replicating the drama-queen persona for which she’s known. That and a backstage scene in which Jill questions an old-school set designer really echo the silver screen worship which was still felt in mainstream entertainment as late as the 70s.
Too bad it all goes South in the end. Even the eleventh-hour
villains are a bunch of lightweights. A curio for Lupino fans, or die-hard Angels aficionados (like myself). Others
are best steered to rent an old B&W flick to quench their classic movie appetite.
|Since you asked - a casting director who doubles as an extra|
Charlie sightings: The end, munching popcorn, telling the Angels he’ll be at the premiere in a tux (all the men will be in tuxes, get it?).
Client: Gloria Gibson
Plot difficulty level: 6 (but very bottom heavy)