Friday, April 1, 2011

James Coburn & Raquel Welch in The Last of Sheila (1973)

Obscurity factor: 1

One night after a party at their home, Sheila Green, wife of film producer Clinton Green is killed in a hit and run accident. A year later, the guests from the party are invited for a week on Clinton's yacht. There's the script writer (Richard Benjamin) and his wife (Joan Hackett), the agent (Dyan Cannon), the starlet (Raquel Welch) and her manager (Ian McShane) and the director (James Mason). But a gathering organized by Clinton is never just a gathering - all the guests are to play a game. They're each given cards with a secret on them and must discover each others secret without letting their own be revealed. Each night there is a trip to shore with a clue given that leads to the answer to one of the secrets. What makes the guests uneasy is that each of the secrets relates to an incident in one of the guests lives. When the game leads to murder all bets are off!

This was on TCM last night. Its obscurity is dubious in that it's notorious for being written by Anthony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim. The plot is full of extremely clever twists and turns and you must watch closely to keep up with them all, but the film is, in some ways, a bit too clever for its own good.

It's available on DVD and can be watched instantly on Amazon. The trailer for it is above, uploaded to YouTube by Nederama. The poster above is available from

Obscurity factor: 1 (somewhat notorious, available on DVD)


  1. I adore this movie! I've always wanted to put it on a double bill with the original SLEUTH.

    Charles Winecoff's Perkins bio, SPLIT IMAGE, has some interesting background on THE LAST OF SHEILA.

  2. Interesting... I'll have to look for that. Thanks!

  3. I love this film too, it's one of my annual views - the films I watch at least once a year - along with Desk Set, Charade, Elvira: Mistress of The Dark, The Smallest Show on Earth, The Love Machine and others. Even when you know the plot twists this remains intriguing and a great caprice. It's also fun to put on kitchen oven mitts and pose an an homage to the denouement :)

  4. Yes, this is a twisty one. The first time I saw it I was put off by the twist - it was disconcerting to have the rug pulled out from under me, but I've come to appreciate the plot now, which is really tightly constructed.