August 16, 1973
STEPHEN Sondheim, Broadway.s musical comedy wunderkind “Follies,” “A Little Night Music“) wrote the script, alony with Tonv Perkins. Recently, an album in tribute to Sondheim.s accomplishments was released. The cover consisted of the names of his musicals spelled out in Scrabble tiles.
HERE, then, was your first clue to the mystery of the mystery movie that is “The Last of Sheila” There are two others in this review one present once, one repeated several times. They will be missed just like the a b i e n c e ,(myself inc,uded) fails to recognize “The LastÂ of Sheila clues provided by the script. That’s the enormous genius of this movie; unlike “Sleuth” there are no gimmicks. Each clue is repeated and repeated.
The Last of Sheila” tells us its secret in the first five minutes but we being clever second-guess Sondheim and we lose out Re-read this review after you see “The I^ast of Sheila. The most important clue is right in front of you.
EYEING the movie technically: The dialogue (and this is probably Perkins’ contribution) is Show Biz Bitch Chic. When Bette Midler sings “Friends” at the close of “The Last of Sheila,” the irony is attuned to the atmosphere.
^In several ways. The performances: From Raquel Welch (.) to Dyan Cannon^!) a scene-stealer as a voracious lady agent based on a real voracious lady agent now doing her Tinsel Town thing.
AFTER all is said: Lord, but “The Last of Sheila” is fun Is anything more perversely enjoyable than being fooled in broad daylight after you have been told you are being fooled until you have decided that the teller must be a fool to have told you so many times? SondheimÂ is no fool. In “The Last of Sheila” he proves that we are for believing that he is. And we love the way he proves it.