Sunday, August 1, 2010
#40 - The Private Eyes - 1980
The Private Eyes was my 5th movie I chose to watch this week and it was quite different than any of the others. I first noticed this one when online at netflix and the dvd cover really intrigued me. It looked a little similar to the Ghost and Mr. Chicken which also stared Don Knotts and it had some great reviews and was listed as a Mystery so I thought what the heck, lets try it. Below is my detailed review.
This film is easily the oldest one of this week and one of the older ones I've watched since I started this marathon, in fact it might be the oldest but Id have to go back and confirm that. It was released in 1980 when I was only 4 years old, technically 3 years and 5 months since it was released in April of 1980. It was a color feature film and not done in black and white although I could have easily seen this being a B&W film.
The movie stars Don Knotts and Tim Conway as two detectives sent to the mansion of Lord Morley and his wife Lady Morley. There is a cast of about 10 or so different characters but its obviously Knotts and Conway who are the real stars. Besides them Mistress Phyliss Morley the adoptive daughter of Lord and Lady Morley, Justin (the Butler, and the Nanny were easily the other lead characters. The actress who played the Nanny in fact has a long list of horror genre roles. Her name is Grace Zabriski and I recognized her mostly from her role in the Grudge but also I realized she played Veronica, the mother of Spence in King of Queens in the earlier episodes. Weird.
As I mentioned before the story is simple but the detectives themselves are a whole other story. Conway and Knotts give quite the comedic performance in this mystery which I was categorized more as a comedy/mystery but still it fit with this weeks theme. This film actually was a spoof of an old Sherlock Holmes story. There were several things I really enjoyed about this film. The setting for this film was great, the acting was superb in classic slapstick comedy fashion, and the story was mysterious.
The setting for this film took place at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. I had no idea about this before I watched the movie and only realized it after I saw it. That was pretty cool to me because when I lived in North Carolina that was a popular tourist destination for people to go see. On a side note they also filmed the movie "Hannibal" at the Biltmore Estate as well. It is a very unique and majestic looking mansion. It was cool to see that it was used in this film and was a perfect backdrop for a film of this nature.
Knotts and Conway were hilarious in this film! That I'm sure is no surprise but some of the quotes and goofs these two did throughout the film were really really funny. Its quite odd to see this type of comedy when now and days so much of it is over the top in your face and quite often vulgar and sexual comedy that is so popular. Now don't get me wrong I love the 40 Year Old Virgin type films but this brand of comedy was something different and although it is older it is still just as funny in certain circumstances. I mean Conway was a hoot in this and he probably had more funny lines and scenes just because he was the more aloof character in the film. This film while being very slap sticky and spoofy in nature did have some cool darker scenes in hidden passages throughout the house and a funny scene in the tomb where the Morley's were buried. That added to the "mystery" portion of the film and although there really weren't any scary scenes per say but a few pop out things throughout this was a movie with a great mix of comedy and mystery.
Personally I loved the alarm clock gun and the funny yet intentionally unrhyming letters that were read which were found on each of the bodies. Those were hilarious. Obviously the scene where Dr. Tart (Conway) scares himself with his own shadow was funny as was the scene where both Dr. Tart and Inspector Winship (Knotts) mimicked the Justin's walk when first inspecting the mansion. It was these type of scenes and Conway's complete cluelesness throughout the film that made this one so entertaining. I was skeptical at first when watching the opening scenes of this film but it got really good about 20 minutes into the film and it was definitely entertaining and well worth the watch. I wouldn't rate this as good as I would the Ghost and Mr.. Chicken however it was a very good movie which I really liked and with that being said I would easily give this a B+!