Messenger asks a friend to check into a list of names before leaving on a trip. When his plane is blown out of the sky, the matter becomes more serious. As his friend checks into the list, each seems to have died in mysterious circumstances. As he goes down the list, the deaths become more recent and a race to find the remaining survivors and what put each of them on this list ensues.
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It would never be released.I saw this movie when it was released, thought it was crap then...I thinkitis even stupider now!A good story/plot is ruined by artless cinematography, gimmickry and hamacting. Makeup by Neighborhood costume store.It's significant that, whenever the thing is shown on TCM or AMC, there's acaveat apology either about production values, makeup or the gimmickitself.watch the da** thing in terms of today's criticality, with no sentiment..you will agree with me.
It's a decent, entertaining film, filled with star cameos. However, as is often the case, the plot veers off wildly from the original book by Philip MacDonald, which I enjoyed much more. In short, while I would (and have) re-read the book, I have no real desire to see the film again.
This review is from: The List of Adrian Messenger (DVD) Given its director (the legendary John Huston) and cast (early George C. Scott as the detective, vintage Kirk Douglas, and the always watchable Dana Wynter), among film mysteries "The List of Adrian Messenger" is arguably the least represented in video (never realeased on laserdisc and only on DVD in Europe). The good widescreen DVD print redresses this gap and any lover of 1960s (pre "Murder on the Orient Express") mysteries should check this one out.Adapted from a fine novel, the plot involves the mysterious deaths of WWII veterans, with much of the narrative hinging on trying to figure out the motive for the killings, which turns on deciphering the cryptic dying words of Adrian Messenger, spoken in the ocean to a fellow passenger (deftly played by Jacques Roux, though with voice often dubbed by the ubiquitous Paul Frees) following the bombing of the plane they were on.A somewhat gimicky feature of the film (which turns on the killer being a master of disguise) involved putting half a dozen major actors under similarly dense makeup and sprinkling them through the movie as an added element of mystery (though absolutely nothing could successfully disguise Robert Mitchum's cameo) but don't get too hung up on that aspect, the overall mood and style of the result (including one of Jerry Goldsmith's early masterpiece scores, inspiring the later original "Hawaii Five-O" TV series to do several master thief plots involving Hume Cronin as a master of disguise, set to music clearly riffing off Goldsmith's Messenger score) makes it stick in the mind as one of the most inventive entries of the 1960s.The film also has one of my all time favorite movie lines (not in the original book): when visiting the widow (Gladys Cooper) of one of the veterans, Cooper wryly noted of her second husband (a prissy social climber played by veteran French actor Marcel Dalio) that "During the war Mr. Kardashian was Swiss."
This review is from: The List of Adrian Messenger (DVD) With the glut of today"s computer-generated films, we sometimes forget what FUN it used to be to see a clever film that, in lieu of another word, "ENTERTAINS" from beginning to end. Director John Huston assembled a cast of 1st Class Film Stars and wove them (hidden under character makeup) into an interesting murder mystery story line. I was fortunate to have found this rare title on Amazon.com...where else? What fun!
This review is from: The List of Adrian Messenger (DVD) This one's on my Top Ten List! A great mystery, a great director, and a great cast! See if you can guess who Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra are under all that make-up! Terrific score, too! Buy this film - you will not be disappointed! I guarantee!
After his bitter disappointment with The Red Badge Of Courage Hustonbegan to lose interest in directing though he still, of course, neededto pay the rent which explains some of the assignments he accepted. Inthis case a re-jigging of Kind Hearts And Coronets in which KirkDouglas like Richard the Third and Alec Guiness before him,systematically eliminates the line of succession standing betweenhimself and an estate and title. In an effort to sweeten the air aroundthis stale plot the film employs the gimmick of having four 'stars' incameo roles but as each is heavily - and ridiculously - made up itcould be - and probably was - anyone under the masks. No one from leadGeorge C. Scott on down, seems remotely interested in the plot and Ican't really blame them. To say ho hum is to give it the benefit of thedoubt.
Sitting down to watch this, without the prior knowledge of the guestappearances, is probably the best way to go about this film. Obviously,they're all credited at the beginning but it's best just to look past thefake masks and enjoy George C. Scott, in his own right, sifting his waythrough the clues. No guest appearance is particularly awe-inspiring orremarkable. In fact Alec Guinness could well have done it all better in astraight remake of Kind Hearts and Coronets but then where's the fun inthat? Laughable English accents and all, this is worth seeing forcuriosityvalue next time it comes on the box.
As is mentioned in the IMDB entry for actor Paul Frees, he often reloopedother actors dialogue in the fifties and sixties. If you have a good earyou'll hear his voice throughout this movie, although he's not in thecredits. It's not surprising that he was called upon to do the voices forsome of the cameo stars who appear in disguise, but what is really bizarreis how his voice will appear, sometimes in mid-monologue for actors likeJacques Roux.
Stunningly original. It's great fun sitting with people seeing the film forthe first time and telling them all the big stars who are in it! "OK," theyfinally say, "I've seen George Scott and I've finally seen Kirk Douglas;where's everybody else?" Once you experience this classic, you'll know whatI mean. Scott (one of the few Americans who can sustain a British accent) iswonderful as the sleuth. Houston's slight-of-hand direction is bang on.Goldsmith's wicked little theme and moody score need to finally be releasedon CD (Varese? Silva?).
This is one of those mysteries where a talented amateur (George C.Scott) slowly unravels what the police (despite having all theresources) can't seem to figure out. Anthony Gethryn is a friend of the family of the Eark of Glenyre (ColinBrook). One of the cousins of the Earl's current heir (his grandson) isAdrian Messenger (John Merrivale) who is an author. Messenger has beenworking on what he calls a mystery plot, which he mentions vaguely, butwith some ill-ease, to Gethryn. It seems he has been tracing a seriesof people he (Messenger) knew who have mostly died in grotesquelyhorrible accidents. He promises to tell Gethryn about it, but he has totake an air flight on business. Earlier we saw an odd looking religiousman handing in a package that was supposed to go on the plane.Naturally the plane blows up killing most of the passengers and crew.But a badly injured (actually dying) Messenger tells the survivingpassenger (Jacques Roux - Raoul Le Borg) a message for Gethryn. It is along disjointed message, and Gethryn does get it after Roux is pickedup (by then the sole survivor of the bombed plane). Gethryn slowly works out the message on a set of blackboards with theassistance of the recovered Roux and Lady Jocelyn (Dana Wynter) and SirWilfred Lucas (Herbert Marshall). Gradually he realizes that the listof names are of men who were prisoners of war with Messenger, and thatthey and others were betrayed by another man who will kill anyone whois in his way to claim a large estate.The gimmick of this film (which makes it a guessing game, but alsoruins the mystery to some extent) was to guess who were the celebritiesin cameo roles in this film. The five celebrities were Burt Lancaster,Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Curtis. In thecase of Lancaster, Mitchum, Sinatra, and Curtis the disguises are nottoo bad (although Mitchum bone structure is a dead give-away. ButDouglas (and I am not ruining the story to say this) is in fourdisguises, and like Mitchum it is just too difficult to hide his bonestructure. One of his disguises, by the way, looks like Dr. HawleyCrippen.Despite the gimmick taking one's attention away from the actualmystery, the film is a good one, well directed by John Huston (who hasa cameo here as well, as does his son), and has some nice countrysidephotography - particularly of the final fox hunt. It is a decentlymade, above average mystery.
A very entertaining movie with lots of stars in cameo roles (goodluck finding them all). I had been looking for this movie on DVD for years-be aware that it will not play on a DVD player which also records-not a problem since a play only device can be bought very cheaply.
A good one for masochists. It is actually quite well done, but if you are not interested in fallen heroes, don't bother. If you want a good clinical analysis, buy it.
This review is from: The List of Adrian Messenger (DVD) This is a fantastic mystery with incredible cameos. Both a great mystery and fun on the way to finding out who did it and why.
John Huston certainly took a little change of pace in this one, didn't he? Oh, so British, and oh so tongue in cheek, THE LIST OF ADRIAN MESSENGER has survived the test of time, and even after my fourth viewing of this movie, I still found myself intrigued with the sometimes complex plotting.Along with the much promoted and maligned cameos, the rest of the cast is very good. George C. Scott plays the proper British retired policeman quite well; Dana Wynter (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) is disarmingly lovely; Jacque Roux as the French survivor is lustily French in his wooing of Winter, and John Merivale as Messenger is stoic and heroic. Gladys Cooper has a delightful cameo as one of the murdered men's survivors.Huston didn't do anything fancy with this movie, but it is well crafted and didn't need any flashy effects.A murder mystery that will stand the test of time.
This review is from: The List of Adrian Messenger (Universal Vault Series) (DVD) "The List Of Adrian Messenger" is still as entertaining a film as I remembered.George C.Scott is excellent throughout,as he deciphers the labyrinth of clues leading to the unmasking of the killer.Not the best of John Huston's career but,still a movie worthy of A DVD or Blu-Ray release.For an even more entertaining evening,I suggest watching both this movie and the "Get Smart" episode spoof,"The Mess of Adrian Listenger"
This review is from: The List of Adrian Messenger (Amazon.com Exclusive) (DVD) Universal/Amazon.com has just released a very good DVD-R transfer of this film in anamorphic widescreen. This product is similar to the MOD burned discs of the Warner Archives program. It is being sold through Amazon as an exclusive. The image is crystal clear, and the sound is very good too.I don't need to belabor the film's merits, because many others have done so here. Suffice it to say that the film is a stylishly entertaining mystery with a gimmick.According to character actor Jan Merlin, most of the celebrity guests only appear in the unmasking scenes at the end. Robert Mitchum was the only guest star who actually acted in the body of the film while wearing the mystery makeup. Many of the actors' voices were provided by voice artist extraordinaire Paul Frees.When the film was brand new in 1963, there was a blurb in the newspaper movie section that said "Talk to Kirk Douglas!", and a phone number was provided. When you called the number, you simply heard a recorded message from Kirk in which he ballyhooed the opening of the film in that city. That was another gimmick associated with this fun film.
That's only a portion of the last words of Adrian Messenger as he gasps out a cryptic warning to a fellow passenger on a plane blown out of the sky by a bomb. That Frenchman survivor hooks up with British-accented detective George C. Scott to unravel the mystery of who is killing so many, and why."The List of Adrian Messenger" was a staple as a Sunday afternoon movie when I was a kid, and it was always really scary to see how many people George C. Scott just misses saving. Of course, the best part of this movie are the latex mask disguises so many of the stars are wearing. Fairly early on, the audience learns the identity of the murderer while he is removing one of these disguises, but now that we know that disguises are the order of the day, we find ourselves scrutinizing every face, trying to decide if this one's a mask, and who's underneath it if it is. A pretty good way to develop paranoia, I'd say!
Like the many camouflaged faces in the film, the plot is slowly peeled away to reveal an intriguing and satisfying mystery with numerous cameos (see if you can recognize them). Clues are as common as survivors in the killer's quest to mark off all the names on the list, but George C. Scott does not disappoint in the end. Look before you leap!
This review is from: The List of Adrian Messenger (Universal Vault Series) (DVD) Good mystery thriller filmed with some distanciation by John Huston. as the post final credits sequence confirms it. Joseph MacDonald, in charge of the photography department, proposes two or three scenes that could have been found in a Val Lewton production. Robert Mitchum is the only star I recognized among the cameos. So if you want to pass an agreeable evening, take a look at this rare little gem. Recommended.
Am i alone in thinking that Burt Lancaster only seems to appear onscreen (made-up or otherwise) right at the end, when the other gueststars reveal themselves? Sinatra plays a gypsy (pretty easy), Curtis isan organ-grinder (stumped me the first time), Mitchum is an old man ina wheelchair (so easy, i wondered why he even bothered), and Douglas ofcourse is the murderer. According to the opening credits, A WOMAN isone of the disguised red-herrings, and sure enough, Lancasterapparently turns up as a woman at the climax. Yet, to me, the womanlooks just LIKE a woman, complete with a believable...EVERYTHING...Imean, come on...the voice is feminine, lacking Lancaster's curtdelivery, the face doesn't look made-up AT ALL, and besides...could yousee Lancaster cutting it as a woman? Sure enough, when the stars unmaskat the close, Lancaster is there, and in my opinion, for the first timein the entire film. His make-up is now ludicrously bad (which means wecan now SEE it's Lancaster). In my opinion, they got Lancaster becausehis buddy Kirk was producer, and they couldn't perfect the make-up todisguise that very identifiable face of his (the chin, those brilliantteeth). Instead, they got some woman and made it look like Lancasterwas under all that make-up. Does anybody agree with me on this one?