TV Cream

Films: E is for...

Eye of the Devil

A sort of ’60s proto-Wicker Man set-up, in which Franch grandee David Niven tries to save his failing vineyard with a little Satanic help from Donald Pleasence and John Le Mesurier. Wife Deborah Kerr gets wind, and must be disposed of. Meanwhile twins David Hemmings and Sharon Tate wander round the grounds with longbows and hypno-medallions, getting folk to throw themselves off roofs and transmogrifying small items of wildlife. It all gets a bit tricky, with wildly rocking cameras, woodland intrigue, and Niven flogging Tate for all the both of them are worth combined. One for Brit horror completists only, we reckon, though tune in at the start and hopefully TCM will preface it with the lovely All Eyes on Sharon Tate puff piece, which obviously makes no mention of the fact two directors and Kim Novak had already pulled out of the troubled shoot, but does feature glimpses of the old British MGM studios in Borehamwood (or ‘London’ as the Yank announcer helpfully abstracts), and J Lee Thompson agreeing to put Tate back in ‘cold storage’ if she flunks it. Plus footage of La Tate taking voice training lessons from what looks like Emma Kennedy in ‘spinster librarian’ glasses and mad face, and dancing really crappily alongside David Hemmings, who does that dodgy ‘ooh, not quite touching your tits’ hand jive with her. Hum. Oh, and then she watches the changing of the guard and feeds the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, before waxing lyrical about David Niven’s peerless sophistication, suaveness and charm. ‘She’s a fabulous-looking bird,’ avers Niven.

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