Something for Everyone

Movie Information

Genre: Black Comedy
Director: Harold Prince
Starring: Angela Lansbury, Michael York, Anthony Corlan, Heidlinde Weis, Jane Carr
Rated: R

The period from the late 1960s to early 1970s was one of filmmaking’s most adventurous eras. Films that were unthinkable a few years earlier were being made by filmmakers ready to test the new “permissiveness” of the ratings system. Unfortunately, a number of these films were made for short-lived production companies and have subsequently drifted into obscurity.

Such is the case with Something for Everyone, a pitch-black black comedy that marked the film-directing debut of Broadway’s legendary Harold Prince, who only directed one subsequent film. Stage directors usually fall into one of two categories when they turn filmmaker — they either discover a wonderland of possibilities to tell a story the stage never afforded them, or they handle the whole thing like canned theatre. Prince, oddly, did neither, and ended up crafting a perfectly competent film that effectively apes the prevailing style of the time without offering anything distinctive.

The material, on the other hand, is nothing if not distinctive — something like a highly sexualized variant on Ealing Studios’ 1949 classic comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets. Michael York plays a young man who is determined to have a castle that’s like the one in his childhood storybook. Indeed, he’s so determined that, like the anti-hero of Kind Hearts and Coronets, murder is very much an option. But so is seducing and sleeping with anyone — male or female — who will lead him to his goal. Before the film is over, he’s managed to sleep with a goodly portion of the cast.

The film is quite cold-hearted and erotic (a deft accomplishment considering the scarcity of actual nudity), but it’s also surprisingly multi-layered in its depiction of characters shaped by their respective eras. Bitterly funny, occasionally brilliant and always compelling, Something for Everyone deserves to be better remembered than it is.

— reviewed by Ken Hanke

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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