Review: ‘Bunny Lake Is Missing’

Bunny Lake is about the only thing missing from Otto Preminger's exercise in suspense and the viewer is kept in uncertainty about her for most of the film. What Preminger has achieved is an entertaining, fast-paced exercise in the exploration of a sick mind. Evelyn Piper's 1957 novel dealt entirely with the unpredictable actions of a mother searching for her child (real or imaginary) who had disappeared. To this plot skeleton Preminger has added an equally important character whose predictable actions provide the search's principal obstacles.

Bunny Lake is about the only thing missing from Otto Preminger’s exercise in suspense and the viewer is kept in uncertainty about her for most of the film. What Preminger has achieved is an entertaining, fast-paced exercise in the exploration of a sick mind. Evelyn Piper’s 1957 novel dealt entirely with the unpredictable actions of a mother searching for her child (real or imaginary) who had disappeared. To this plot skeleton Preminger has added an equally important character whose predictable actions provide the search’s principal obstacles.

Carrying much of the film on her shoulders, Carol Lynley, as the mother shoved into a state of near hysteria almost from the beginning, is outstanding.

Keir Dullea, as her brother, most effective in earlier scenes where he conveys the natural, if easily-aroused, anger of a devoted brother.

Laurence Olivier’s police inspector, is played in the manner of a psychiatrist. While nothing more than a routine role, Olivier does give it dignity and purpose and makes it a calm and restful contrast to the highly-strung emoting of Dullea and Lynley.

Bunny Lake Is Missing

UK

Production

Columbia/Wheel. Director Otto Preminger; Producer Otto Preminger; Screenplay John Mortimer, Penelope Mortimer; Camera Denys Coop; Editor Peter Thornton; Music Paul Glass; Art Director Don Ashton

Crew

(B&W) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1965. Running time: 107 MIN.

With

Carol Lynley Keir Dullea Laurence Olivier Noel Coward Martita Hunt Anna Massey
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