A suspenseful English thriller with a terrific performance by Laurence Olivier, BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING kept me guessing right up to its finale.
Shot in crisp black & white with terrific location photography, Olivier stars as Detective Newhouse. He's called in when young Ann (Carol Lynley) drops her 4 year old daughter off at preschool, where she promptly disappears.
It's not just that she's gone by the end of the day, the mystery seems to be that no one has ever seen the child.
Ann's protective brother Steven is played by Kier Dullea, who would go on to huge stardom three years later in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The mystery deepens as it goes, with Ann and Bunny spiraling down a rabbit hole of doubts over the existence of the child.
Noel Coward offers a very strange performance as Ann's Landlord, a lurking predator who leaps to the top of the suspect list. But for what?
Clive Revill (The Empire Strikes Back) is strong as Sgt. Andrews, confused by a trail that seems to feed back on itself.
Dullea's performance is very odd. I spent the first 2/3 trying to decipher how he could be this bad in the role, when he was so effective as Dave Bowman in 2001. Perhaps the resolution offers some answers, but Noel Coward famously taunted him on the set for a lack of talent, saying "Here Dullea, Gone Tomorrow" every chance he got.
Lynley is very good. Only having seen her as the lounge singer in 1972's "The Poseidon Adventure" I was pretty shocked at the depth and talent of her performance here. She beat Jane Fonda out for the role.
And then there is Olivier, blowing everyone else off the screen as a very clever detective determined to find out who is lying.
Never less than interesting, occasionally derailed by some 60's songs by The Zombies, it kept me fascinated on just what in the hell was really going on here. Who's crazy?
Famously temperamental Director Otto Preminger (Anatomy of a Murder, Laura)keeps his camera moving in long, lingering shots.
Pretty twisted for its day, BUNNY LAKE will keep you guessing from its clever main credits to the jet black, completely mental finale, earning a B.