Pretty Maids All in a Row, Roger Vadim’s first US-made film, is apparently intended as a sort of genteel black murder-sex comedy. Gene Roddenberry’s production careers through 95 minutes of juvenile double entendre and pratfall. Rock Hudson stars as a married high-school guidance counseller who gets to know his girl students in the academic and Biblical sense, and eventually has to kill several to keep them quiet.
The unravelling of the murders (but not to an audience, which knows early what’s up) parallels another story line: John David Carson’s post-acne, pre-adult shy-guy character which blossoms under the careful attention of Angie Dickinson, the constant nymph. Carson does extremely well in the best developed characterization in the script.
Whatever substance was in the original [novel by Francis Pollini] or screen concept has been plowed under, leaving only superficial, one-joke results.