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The List of Adrian Messenger

The List of Adrian Messenger

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Storyline : The List of Adrian Messenger

I got it all wrong, but it’s great fun!

This movie’s main box office draw, of course, was its roster of actors playing in disguise. Having made it clear quite early in the movie that the elevator killer, the vicar and the genial neighbor are all impersonated by Kirk Douglas (coldly, intelligently effective as the mass murderer), the film then cunningly obscures the trail by disguising its remaining four guest stars as characters who could as well turn out to be the ubiquitously protean Mr. Douglas as, say Burt Lancaster or Frank Sinatra. Some indication of the glee director John Huston finds in these impersonations, can be made by the fact that one actor is required to be dubbed by a woman, and that Noel Purcell and Huston himself appear among the suspect women in the last, crucial hunting scene, and that another of the suspects is got up to resemble a disguised Tony Curtis (yet Curtis himself turns out to be someone rather different). In fact, I must admit to almost complete bafflement. The only one I got right was Bob Mitchum! As for the rest of the cast: George C. Scott is the personification of Philip MacDonald’s detective, Colonel Gethryn (although the vehicle itself is not one of his best); Clive Brook makes a welcome return as the Marquis; Gladys Cooper and Marcel Dalio are limited, alas, to but one scene; Herbert Marshall says his lines in the usual Marshallian manner; and Dana Wynter is as icically beautiful as ever. In all, a Highly Recommended list!

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