Ann Lake has recently settled in England with her daughter, Bunny. When she goes to retrieve her daughter after the girl's first day at school, no one has any record of Bunny having been registered. When even the police can find no trace that the girl ever existed, they wonder if the child was only a fantasy of Ann's. When Ann's brother backs up the police's suspicions, she appears to be a mentally-disturbed individual. Are they right?Written by
Carol Lynley had worked with Otto Preminger before (The Cardinal), and a lot of her scenes were with Laurence Olivier, who had warned the infamously irritable Otto Preminger that he watch his temper, so she had no problems. On the other hand, Keir Dullea suffered Preminger's wrath. He even does an imitation of the German director to fans at autograph shows and conventions. See more »
Steven uses the fuel from the oil lamp to light the doll's hair on fire; but he should have burnt his hand when pulling off what should have been a very hot glass chimney from the top of the lamp. See more »
She may be a few minutes late. Will you please wait for her?
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The names in the opening credits are revealed by a hand tearing away parts of the black background as if it were paper, revealing the names printed beneath on a white background. See more »
Taciturn director Preminger created here an atmospheric, beautifully shot film of mystery and oddity. Though it isn't 100% satisfying, it remains quite entertaining and visually arresting. Lynley, a newcomer to London, England, takes her four year-old daughter to nursery school and, in a hurry to meet movers at her new flat, briefly leaves the child in the custody of a rather unfriendly cook. Later, the cook has quit and the child is gone. Worse, no one seems to have ever known about the child or has ever even seen her except Lynley and Dullea. No tangible trace of the child seems to exist! Olivier is brought in to head up the investigation and scours all the various clues and suspects, all while trying to determine if there even IS a child to be searching for. The film kicks off with famously innovative Saul Bass titles and sets its contrived, but fascinating story in motion with skill. Lynley manages to come off rather well in a difficult role. Dullea is also strong in a part that never gets completely fleshed out. Olivier is reliably commanding and slick and offers a lesson in understated excellence. These performers are surrounded by a lustrous galaxy of terrific British character actors. Most notable is the delicious Hunt as the vaguely sinister, yet delightful headmistress of the school. Massey is also excellent as a frustrated teacher. Coward pops up as a creepy landlord with designs on Lynley. It is not easy to watch the somewhat disintegrated legend put the moves on her. Many other great people show up and, even if they don't get a moment of glory, their participation adds greatly to the class and feel of the film. A sense of dread and uncertainty hangs over the movie as the viewer is never exactly sure what is going on. As stylish and intriguing as the film is, certain sections drag on a bit too long, none more so than the climax, in which Lynley must fend off the villain of the piece and seems to go out of her way NOT to escape or harm the person, at times. Even with this and other gripes (like a needless, annoying and intrusive "appearance" from The Zombies), the film is well worth watching and deserves a better availability and reputation than it currently accords.
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