DIE! DIE! MY DARLING
Directed by Silvio Narizzano
Produced by Anthony Hinds
Written by Richard Matheson
Director of Photograpy Arthur Ibbetson
Music by Wilfred Josephs
Cast: Stefanie Powers, Tallulah Bankhead, Maurice Kaufman, Peter Vaughan & Donald Sutherland
1965/97 mins/Color/Dolby Mono
1.85:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Columbia/Tri-Star Home Entertainment DVD
A few weeks ago, I reviewed a movie called UNHINGED, which was an example from the 80s of the "trapped in a house with some crazies" genre of suspense films. The 1965 classic DIE! DIE! MY DARLING is also a representative of this genre, but is a much more entertaining and classier film. The film features some well-known stars and a tight script by Richard Matheson.
Stefanie Powers stars as Pat Carroll, an American who has travelled to Britain with her fiance, Alan (Maruice Kaufmann). Pat had previously been engaged to another English man named Peter, who died tragically. Pat has received a letter from Peter's mother, and decides to visit her, despite Alan's protests. When Pat reaches the home of Mrs. Trefoile (Tallulah Bankhead), she is welcomed with open arms. But, Pat soon learns that the old woman is a religious fanatic, who doesn't believe in any self-indulgence, such as mirrors, make-up, or even salt. Pat attempts to be polite, and agrees to spend the night. But, as Mrs. Trefoile learns more about Pat, and as Pat becomes more uncomfortable with Mrs. Trefoile's rules, the old lady decides that Pat is impure and must be taught the ways of God. To do this, Mrs. Trefoile locks Pat in the attic, and foils all of her attempts to escape.
DIE! DIE! MY DARLING is one of those films where the viewer must cast themselves back in time to fully appreciate it. Looking at the film today, most of the plot seems very tired and hackneyed. Mrs. Trefoile is a caricature and her methods have been repeated in countless films. But, in 1965, DIE! DIE! MY DARLING was most likely very fresh and original. And while I'm certain that it wasn't the first film to show a character being held hostage by a lunatic, I get the feeling that the religious angle was seen as shocking by many. Mrs. Trefoile is a very strict Christian, while Pat has few religious beliefs -- and each characters states their feelings very clearly. This facet of the film, combined with the violence displayed, most likely made DIE! DIE! MY DARLING a film that people talked about.
But, back to how the film plays today. Familiarity of the plot aside, the suspense turns to boredom at times, as we wait for Pat to try and escape. The film's script, by horror-legend Richard Matheson, from a novel by Anne Blaisdell, is very tight, and this helps DIE! DIE! MY DARLING from getting too far off course. Pat tries many ways to escape, and is typically thinking exactly what the audience is thinking (except for when she gets her ass kicked by the maid!). The other strong point of DIE! DIE! MY DARLING is the cast. Bankhead is spectacular, vamping it up as Mrs. Trefoile. She knows that this character is over-the-top and she runs with it. Powers (who was very foxy back then) is very good at Pat, and we truly feel for her. DIE! DIE! MY DARLING is a fairly good thriller, although it borrows too much from PSYCHO at times, that serves as a good example of the changing face of movies from the 60s... and as inspiration for The Misfits.
DIE! DIE! MY DARLING comes to DVD from Columbia/Tri-Star Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The film has been re-mastered in high-definition and the image shows the fruits of this labor. The image is sharp and clear, showing only trace amounts of grain at times. There are some minor defects from the source material visible, but this consist mainly of small scratches and black spots. The colors look very good, most notably the reds and blues. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital mono audio track which provides clear dialogue and music, but little else. The only extras on the DVD are trailers for other Columbia titles.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©