Review: ‘The Last of Sheila’

The Last of Sheila is a major disappointment. Result is far from the bloody All About Eve predicted and is simply a confused and cluttered demi Sleuth, grossly overwritten and underplayed.

The Last of Sheila is a major disappointment. Result is far from the bloody All About Eve predicted and is simply a confused and cluttered demi Sleuth, grossly overwritten and underplayed.

Co-scripters Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins are puzzle game fanatics, and the plot constructed for their first feature is self-indulgent camp at its most deadly.

The Sheila of the title is the luxury yacht named after the late wife of a Hollywood producer (James Coburn) killed by a hit-and-run driver shortly after exiting a raucous Beverly Hills party. A year later, Coburn asks six of those party guests for a week’s Riviera cruise aboard the Sheila. Invitees include a glamorous Hollywood star (Raquel Welch), her business agent husband (Ian McShane), a fading director (James Mason), a struggling scriptwriter (Richard Benjamin), his wife (Joan Hackett) and an aggressive femme talent agent (Dyan Cannon).

On board, Coburn initiates a week-long game in which each guest is given a card indicating a secret which is to be discovered by the others. Since one of the cards reads ‘I am a hit-and-run driver’ the mystery concerns the person responsible for Sheila’s demise.

Flashbacks, premature confessions and more murders flesh out the overlong running time. Cast is generally superior to the material with Cannon walking away with the honors as a recognizable femme talent packager with a vulgar, acid tongue.

The Last of Sheila

Production

Warner. Director Herbert Ross; Producer Herbert Ross; Screenplay Stephen Sondheim, Anthony Perkins; Camera Gerry Turpin; Editor Edward Warschilka; Music Billy Goldenberg; Art Director Ken Adam

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1973. Running time: 120 MIN.

With

Richard Benjamin Dyan Cannon James Coburn Joan Hackett James Mason Raquel Welch
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