The Last of Sheila 1975 ****

It’s hard to imagine Stephen Sondheim getting behind the typewriter alongside Psycho’s Anthony Perkins, but they share the writing credits on Herbert Ross’s playful take on an Agatha Christie who-dunnit. Millionaire Clinton Green (James Coburn) invites a group of friends to holiday on his yacht, including Richard Benjamin, Dyan Cannon, James Mason, Raquel Welch and Ian McShane, and they are presented with nightly mysteries to solve, but the real intent is to uncover the culprit of the murder of Sheila. Cannon’s character is based on famously tough Hollywood agent Sue Mengers, and there’s plenty of in-jokes and references to enjoy. It was Sondheim and Perkins’ interest in puzzles and games that inspired the film; The Last of Sheila’s twist and turns are a joy to unravel.


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