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The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968)

Approved | | Drama | 15 November 1968 (West Germany)
A dictatorial film director (Peter Finch) hires an unknown actress (Kim Novak) to play the lead role in a planned movie biography of a late, great Hollywood star.

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writers:

Robert Thom (teleplay), Edward DeBlasio (teleplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kim Novak ... Lylah Clare / Elsa Brinkmann / Elsa Campbell
Peter Finch ... Lewis Zarken / Louie Flack
Ernest Borgnine ... Barney Sheean
Milton Selzer ... Bart Langner
Rossella Falk ... Rossella
Gabriele Tinti ... Paolo
Valentina Cortese ... Countess Bozo Bedoni
Jean Carroll Jean Carroll ... Becky Langner
Michael Murphy ... Mark Peter Sheean
Coral Browne ... Molly Luther
Lee Meriwether ... Young Girl
James Lanphier James Lanphier ... 1st Legman
Robert Ellenstein ... Mike
Nick Dennis ... Nick
Dave Willock ... Cameraman
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Storyline

A sexy starlet (Kim Novak) resembles Lylah Clare, a flamboyant star of the thirties who died mysteriously and tragically on her wedding night, gets a chance to play her in a biographical film directed by Lylah's real-life husband (Peter Finch) and history repeats itself as he falls for her reincarnation. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

OVERNIGHT A STAR...OVER MANY NIGHTS A WOMAN! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 November 1968 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Große Lüge Lylah Clare See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,490,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John WIlson's book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE. See more »

Goofs

When Elsa is speaking in Lylah's voice, if you look closely you can see that the words are slightly out of sync with Elsa's mouth. See more »

Quotes

Becky Langner: Friends she had, straight from the gutter, but next to her skin - it had to be silk!
See more »

Connections

References A Star Is Born (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Lylah
Music by Frank De Vol
Lyrics and Vocal by Sibylle Siegfried
See more »

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User Reviews

too competent to be camp
16 August 2001 | by thomandybishSee all my reviews

THE LEGEND OF LYLAH CLARE looks initially like some sort of camp classic. Don't expect a companion piece to VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, however. Kim Novak plays a mousy aspiring actress picked to portray Lylah Clare, a Marlene Dietrich/Greta Garbo-type screen goddess from Hollywood's golden era who died tragically 30 years before, in a screen version of her life. Under the tutelage of Peter Finch, Lylah's director and husband, Novak is transformed physically and psychologically into the screen star. Along the way, we're treated to three different versions of Lylah's death(kitschy flashbacks in watery black and white framed with lurid red borders, with Novak's close-up in the corner of the screen), a great bitch-out scene between Novak as Lylah and a crippled gossip-columnist hag based on Louella Parsons, a lesbian drama coach, and Novak spouting dubbed, throaty, German-accented dialogue. The make-up job on Novak to make her look like Lylah really doesn't reflect 1930s movie glamour; with her teased and bleached bob, frosted pink lips, and inch-thick eyeliner, she looks more like Dusty Springfield than Jean Harlow. Despite all this, the film isn't some out-of-control camp fest. Really. No scenery chomping, bad dubbed singing sequences, emotional breakdowns, down-and-dirty catfights, or the like. The only fault with a performance might be with Novak during her fits when she impersonates Lylah, throwing her head back to laugh maniacally in that throaty, faux-Garbo accent. Still, its the only real fault in an otherwise competent film. Aldrich is hardly subtle with his digs at the Hollywood system and corruption, but they come out during the course of his characters' conversations and aren't sensationalized. Too many good performances and sympathetic characters to keep it from being an all-out guilty pleasure, but still engaging


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