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Spot Light

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Each month I plan on shining the spot light on a movie or actor to give those already familiar with the movie or actor a chance to learn a little extra about them. Or, for those who aren’t familiar with the movie or actor that I profile, a new interest to hopefully add to their area of collecting that I can help with.

This month’s spotlighted feature:  Bunny Lake is Missing"

This month I am shinning the spotlight on what I consider to be a long lost classic, Otto Preminger's “Bunny Lake is Missing". 

 

“Bunny Lake is Missing” is a very well made, scary movie. Don't watch it alone, unless you are not easily made, well, uneasy. Not a slasher type movie, or a 'watch out it's going to get you ' scariness, but a psychological thriller.

Like other movies from the 1960's set in Europe, Bunny Lake is austere and stark; the characters have an emotionally remote manner, as if in a trance. Other examples are “Alfie”, “Blow-up”, and “Georgy Girl.”


The various settings in “Bunny Lake is Missing” that should be quaint, innocuous or at worst drab, end up being terrifying in their shadowy oddness. A children's day care center, an apartment, a hospital, and a 'doll hospital'.


Maybe the discordant soundtrack of various whistle-y pan pipe -y sounds is a big reason for the desolate mood of the film.

 



 

This film is a real gem that explores the bizarre world of motherhood, family, and insanity. This film can be considered one of Otto Preminger's best works. Well, on to the review of Bunny Lake Is Missing.

The story begins when Ann Lake(Carol Lynley), an American relocated in England, arrives to drop her daughter Bunny at a nursery school. She leaves Bunny in the care of a cook(Lucie Mannehiem) when no teachers are present.

When Ann returns, the cook has quit and Bunny is missing. The other employees deny seeing the child and Ann turns to her brother Stephen(Keir Dullea) for help. Ann never had a father and never married; she and Bunny lived under Stephen's protective care.

Stephen is furious at the staff's incompetence. Scotland Yard begins its investigation and discovers a child never enrolled at the school. Police Superintendent Newhouse(Laurence Oliver) discovers plenty as he goes through things in their apartment. Newhouse discovers Ann had an imaginary daughter named "Bunny", and she has no possessions at the apartment.

Ann becomes terrified when Newhouse decides to stop the search, so she begins to prove her sanity and discovers the horrors behind her little girl's disappearance.

“Bunny Lake Is Missing” is an amazing work to view. The characters were interesting. Oliver's Newhouse never becomes boring. Keir Dullea as Stephen appears sinister. But Lynley playing the tortured Ann Lake who shied away from males becomes a main staple in this psychological thriller.



If you enjoy this one, you may also enjoy “The Shuttered Room” another scary flick from 1960s Britain with Miss Lynley being threatened by dastardly Oliver Reed as an evil country lout. Haven't seen it in decades but it scared me as a child.

 

Trivia:

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1960s music group "The Zombies" show up and, for no good reason, we're treated to two songs from them. "Surprisingly though their biggest hit She's Not there, isn't one of them"