Tuesday, February 17, 2015
'Kill or Cure' DVD: '60s Sellars Style British Comedy Mystery
Warner Archive travels across the pond to add the wonderfully wry 1962 British comedy mystery film "Kill or Cure" to the awesomely obscure Archive DVD releases that make cinephiles truly manufacture shouts of joy. "Kill" further shows American audiences that its star Terry-Thomas gives fellow '60s British comic god Peter Sellars a run for his money.
Terry-Thomas plays the terrifically arrogant "snaps or snoops" photographer/private investigator J. Barker-Rynde, who would make a spectacular rival of Sellars' Inspector Clouseau of the "Pink Panther" film series. A summons from the wealthy Mrs. Clifford to conduct an investigation at the Green Gables health resort sets our story in motion.
The intake interview that camp employee Rumbelow, whom hilarious co-star Eric Sykes awesomely portrays, of Barker-Rynde is one of the best scenes of the film. Stating that the new arrival is reluctant to provide the requested personal information is an understatement.
The more classic British whodunit element of an unknown murderer slipping a fatal dose of poison in the carrot juice of Mrs. Clifford before Barker-Rynde can reach her sets the stage for Barker-Rynde to fully display his bumbling form of investigation. Subjecting him to freezing water showers, intense physical activity, and other indignities and discomforts as part of the regime at the camp further contributes to the ensuing hilarity.
Other terrific classic elements include the financially dependent nephew of Clifford being a prime subject, the loyal secretary/companion of Clifford incurring harm at the hands of the malfeasor, and blustering Detective Inspector Hooks (whom gifted veteran British character actor Lionel Jeffries has down to a T) lacking a clue in every sense of the word.
Rumbelow initially trailing Barker-Rynde and then collaborating (and greatly hindering) with his investigation is another element regarding the great success of "Kill." This portion of the film evokes thoughts of Gilligan and the skipper investigating their fellow castaways following a crime on their island.
The appeal of "Kill" further includes the mystery being of a caliber that any "Scooby-Doo" fan could solve. Like that highly successful franchise, the fun is in the journey (rather than the destination.)
The drawing room confrontation regarding this movie concludes with the reveal that "Kill" is a perfect melange of the aforementioned "whoduniut," classic comedy, and '60s style British satire.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Kill" is encouraged to either email me or connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.