The List of Adrian Messenger

Movie Information

In Brief: John Huston’s The List of Adrian Messenger (1963) is a thoroughly enjoyable murder mystery in the classic style. The film features a solid performance from George C. Scott as the detective, Jacques Roux as his makeshift Watson and a touch of old Hollywood from the presence of Clive Brook and Herbert Marshall. The mystery, while unremarkable, is certainly reasonable enough — or it would have been if it weren’t for the movie’s gimmick. The idea was to put a number of stars — Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra — in heavy character makeup and let the audience try to spot them. Not only is the game distracting, but it also stops the whodunit aspect dead in its tracks by making the most undisguisable of those stars into the killer. What you’re left with is the enjoyment of watching Scott puzzle it out. And it’s enough, but it’s still frustrating. This excerpt was taken from a review by Ken Hanke originally published on Sept. 21, 2010.
Genre: Mystery With a Gimmick
Director: John Huston
Starring: George C. Scott, Dana Wynter, Clive Brook, Jacques Roux, Herbert Marshall
Rated: NR

The Hendersonville Film Society will show The List of Adrian Messenger on Sunday, Jan. 27, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community, 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.

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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