Television writer and director Elliott Nash and his wife Nell have a happy marriage. One day a blackmailer informs Elliott that he has nude photos of his wife Nell, taken when she was only 18 years old. The blackmailer, a certain Dan Shelby, threatens to ruin Nell's reputation and her Broadway stage career if Elliott refuses to pay a ransom. Elliott agrees to pay the blackmailer but the demands increase and Elliott becomes a nervous wreck and a workaholic in his attempt to earn more money for the blackmailer. Elliott even considers selling his house in order to raise the 25 thousand dollars the blackmailer demands. Nell is unaware of the blackmail scheme and often worries about Elliott's state of mind. In desperation, Elliott decides to lure the blackmailer to Elliott's home for a large final payment and kill him. But Elliott is no killer and his planning for the imminent premeditated murder is amateurish at best.Written by
The blackmailer is scheduled to arrive at the house at 10:00pm. After Elliot shoots him and is preparing to dispose of the body Miss Chandler arrives with clients to show the house late at night. See more »
Fun time filler involving Ford and his attempts at murdering a blackmailer and then burying the body underneath a newly constructed gazebo.
Nothing profoundly exceptional here, but it is genuinely and consistently offbeat. There are some good laughs and a couple of uniquely comical moments. Ford and his rather timid delivery really carries the picture. In many ways he was much better at comedy than drama and this film not only proves it, but takes full advantage of it. The very nervous way he proceeds with the murder is a real riot alone. The very high strung way he tries to direct a live on air broadcast, that is shown at the beginning of the film, is not only funny but completely on target.
Their are a lot of twists and turns here and they all become much quicker in pace near the end. None of it is predictable. The best sequence may actually be the one involving a pigeon named Herman. Also don't miss the comment by the police chief at the very end as he is leaving the house.
Reiner adds good energy in support playing a lawyer that never stops deliberating. Character actor McGiver is pretty good also playing against type. Usually he plays very stuffy type characters who enjoy pontificating. Here he plays a gruff laborer who speaks sparingly.
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