Bunny Lake Is Missing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the 1965 film. For the 1957 novel, see Bunny Lake Is Missing (novel).
Bunny Lake Is Missing
Bunny Lake Is Missing.jpg
Directed by Otto Preminger
Produced by Otto Preminger
Screenplay by John Mortimer
Penelope Mortimer
Based on Bunny Lake Is Missing 
by Marryam Modell
Starring Laurence Olivier
Carol Lynley
Keir Dullea
Martita Hunt
The Zombies
Noël Coward
Music by Paul Glass
Cinematography Denys N. Coop
Edited by Peter Thornton
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
1965
Running time
107 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Bunny Lake Is Missing is a 1965 British psychological thriller film starring Laurence Olivier and directed and produced by Otto Preminger, who filmed it in black and white widescreen format in London. It was based on the novel of the same name by Merriam Modell. The score is by Paul Glass and the opening theme is often heard as a refrain. The Zombies also appear in a television broadcast.

Dismissed by both critics and Preminger as insignificant upon its release in 1965, the film received a strong review by critic Andrew Sarris.[1] The movie was released on DVD in 2005 (Region 1) and 2007 (Region 2).

Plot[edit]

American single mother Ann Lake (Carol Lynley), recently moved to London from New York, arrives at the Little People's Garden preschool to collect her daughter, Bunny but the child has mysteriously disappeared. An administrator recalls meeting with Ann but claims never to have seen the missing child. Ann and her brother Stephen (Keir Dullea) search the school and find a sinister woman living upstairs, who claims she collects children's nightmares. In desperation, the Lakes call the police and Superintendent Newhouse (Laurence Olivier) arrives on the scene.

They find that all of Bunny's possessions have been removed from the Lakes' home. Ann cannot understand why anyone would do this and reacts emotionally. Superintendent Newhouse begins to suspect that Bunny Lake does not exist after he learns that "Bunny" was the name of Ann's imaginary childhood friend. Ann's landlord (Noël Coward), an ageing actor, attempts to seduce her. Newhouse decides to become better acquainted with Ann in order to learn more about Bunny. He takes her to a local bar where he plies her with brandy.

Ann discovers she still has the claim ticket for Bunny's doll, which was taken to a doll hospital for repairs. Regarding the doll as proof of Bunny's existence, she frantically rushes to the doll hospital late at night and retrieves the doll. Stephen knocks out Ann and burns the doll. He takes Ann to a hospital and tells the desk nurse that Ann has been hallucinating about a missing girl who does not exist. Ann is sedated and put under observation.

Later, Ann wakes and escapes from the hospital. She discovers Stephen burying Bunny's possessions; he has bound and sedated the child and hidden her in the boot of his car. Stephen implies an incestuous interest in his sister and complains that Bunny has always come between them; because he believes Ann loves Bunny more than him, the child threatens Stephen's dream of a future with Ann. Realizing that her brother is mad, Ann plays childhood games with him to distract him.[2][3] Newhouse, having discovered that Stephen had lied to the police about the ship that brought the Lakes to England, arrives in time to rescue Ann and Bunny and apprehend Stephen.

Cast[edit]

Actor Role
Laurence Olivier Supt. Newhouse
Carol Lynley Ann Lake
Keir Dullea Stephen Lake
Martita Hunt Ada Ford
Anna Massey Elvira Smollett
Clive Revill Sergeant Andrews
Finlay Currie The Doll Maker
Lucie Mannheim The Cook
Noël Coward Horatio Wilson
Adrienne Corri Dorothy
Megs Jenkins Sister
Delphi Lawrence 1st Mother
David Oxley Doctor
Suky Appleby Bunny Lake

Production details[edit]

Adapting the original novel, Preminger moved the story from New York to London, where he liked working. His dark, sinister vision of London made use of many real locations; Barry Elder's Doll Museum in Hammersmith stood in for the dolls' hospital, the Little People's Garden School used a real school in Hampstead, and the 'Frogmore End' house was one that had belonged to novelist Daphne du Maurier's father. Preminger had found the novel's denouement lacking in credibility so he changed the identity of the would-be murderer, which needed many re-writes from his British husband-and-wife scriptwriters John Mortimer and Penelope Mortimer before the famously demanding director was satisfied.[4]

As with its thematic predecessor, Psycho, audiences were not admitted after the film's start, which was not common practice at the time. This was heavily emphasized in the film's promotion, including on the poster, which warned "No One Admitted While the Clock is Ticking!"

English rock band The Zombies are featured in the credits and on the film's poster for their contribution of three songs to the film's soundtrack: "Remember You", "Just Out of Reach" and "Nothing's Changed". The band is prominently featured performing on a television in the pub where Supt. Newhouse meets with Ann, and "Just Out of Reach" plays on a janitor's radio as Ann escapes from the hospital. With Preminger present in the studio, the band recorded a two-minute radio ad set to the tune of "Just Out of Reach" that promoted the film's release and urged audiences to "Come on time!" in keeping with the film's no-late-admissions policy. These efforts represent an early instance of the now-common Hollywood practice of promotional tie-ins with popular musical acts.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Films
  2. ^ Orr, John, Otto Preminger and the End of Classical Cinema, sensesofcinema.com, 2006, retrieved 24 July 2008
  3. ^ Thompson, Nathaniel, Bunny Lake is Missing on DVD, tcm.com, retrieved 24 July 2008
  4. ^ Foster Hirsch, "Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King" (2007).
  5. ^ Alec Palao (1997). "Begin Here and Singles" and "In the Studio Rare and Unissued". In Zombie Heaven (pp. 46-47 & 58) [CD booklet]. London: Big Beat Records.
  • Maria DiBattista (Princeton University): "Afterword". In: Evelyn Piper: Bunny Lake Is Missing (Femmes Fatales: Women Write Pulp) (The Feminist Press at The City University of New York: New York, 2004) 198-219 (ISBN 1-55861-474-5) (includes a discussion of the differences between Piper's novel and Preminger's film version).

Home video releases[edit]

On 2 August 2014, Twilight Time Studio announced an upcoming Blu-ray edition of the film, which was eventually released on 11 November. [1] [2]

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Twilight Time
  2. ^ Home Theater Forum, Blu-ray