Monday, November 11, 2013

Gazebo (1959)


“Honey couldn’t you call Hitchcock again?”

            When I watch a film I have never hear of but it has some of my favorite classic actors in it I do not go into watching it with too much expectations. Sometimes I do but not always. Sometimes the titles are so weird and misleading and sometimes the plot summaries online can make the films sound not too great. I had to watch Gazebo with Glenn Ford since currently I am on a Glenn Ford kick. I read it was a comedy and for the life of me could not fathom how a film with Glenn Ford, a gazebo, pigeon could be too funny. I can now that Gazebo is hilarious and I now count it as one of my favorite films.
            Elliot Nash (Ford) is a writer and director for a TV show. He is constantly stressed and over working himself. Lately he is worried about money which is driving him even crazier than he already is. Elliot gets a call three time while he is doing the show. The same person calls him. The person is a man called Mr. Shelby. Elliot owes money to this Mr. Shelby. The man is trying to get Elliot to sell his house to get the money.
            Elliot’s wife Nell is the star of a Broadway show. On his way to pick up Nell, the cab he is in hits a pigeon. Elliot makes the cab pull over and picks up the bird and takes care of it. When Elliot and Nell get home their friend Harlow is there. Harlow is District Attorney in the city but for some reason is always at their house. Elliot tells Harlow a story that he says he is planning to write which is really the story of why he owes money. He wants to call the police but Harlow says the police barely help.
            Nell does not want to sell the house. Since Elliot is not telling her the truth as to why he wants to sell the house she is confused as to why is so keen on doing so. Elliot does everything he can to make the house a wreck so Nell will want to move out.
            Worse news comes with the blackmailer now having photos of Nell in revealing poses and clothing. He now wants twenty-five thousand dollars. Even worse when Elliot comes home Nell has bought a gazebo she wants to put in the backyard. Nell figures Elliot can relax outside and do some writing in it. In order for the gazebo to be stable in the backyard concrete needs to be poured. Elliot decides to kill Mr. Shelby and burry the body in the concrete foundation.
            Elliot nervously and hysterically sets up the house for when Mr. Shelby arrives for him to be killed. He plot the killing like one of the stories from his TV show. He sets up a chair in line with the door so he can sit in the dark and shoot Mr. Shelby when he comes into the house. He buys a shovel and plastic to keep his clothes from getting anything on them and uses the shower curtain that he hates from the bathroom to wrap the body in.
            Elliot kills Mr. Shelby but things do not go as planned. One of the guys who is working on laying the cement comes by that night to check the foundation. He filled the hole that Elliot had dug and he even takes the shovel Elliot bought thinking it was one of his own. Then all of the sudden the realtor comes by and to top it all off Alfred Hitchcock calls. Taking advantage of the phone call Elliot asks Hitchcock about burying a body as if it was for a story he was writing. The director tells the writer he would use the shovel from the fireplace. The next day the gazebo is set. Elliot is all happy and gittery. Then it starts to rain and the cement from the foundation begins to fall apart. Now the cement has to be redone.
            Nell had spoken to Harlow about how she is worried about Elliot since he has been more nervous than usual and that she knows he is sabotaging the house to get her to change her mind about moving. Harlow has found out about Shelby and Nell’s photos and asks her about them. She tells him that the photos are from before she was famous and that they were for art.
            When the cement has to be redone Elliot is a mess again since now he has a body in there. Nell thinks her husband is nervous because he buried the shower curtain he hates in there and he does not want her to find out. To get her to stop snooping around Elliot confesses he buried the curtains. Elliot decides to just sell the house. The realtor has him sell the house for sixty thousand dollars. Nell finally agrees to move since the gazebo has ruined the backyard view. The realtor tells them that the new owners want to remove the gazebo and build a pool.
            The police come by the theater to ask questions about Mr. Shelby’s murder. Elliot acts very suspiciously as though he was out of his mind. It turns out that Mr. Shelby was murdered by one of his own men. Elliot realizes he killed someone else. The person was probably Joe the Black the man who killed Mr. Shelby. After the show Nell is picked up by two men claiming to be cops who are looking for Joe. The guys take her back to her house. The gazebo falls over and the guys take a look and find Joe’s body.
            All the guys wanted was the briefcase Joe had been carrying. They take the briefcase and leave Nell tied to a chair in the kitchen. The two guys are captured by the real cops. They tell the police about the body in the gazebo. The police bring the two guys to the house. Elliot is completely nervous and on an edge. He begins to confess that he killed Joe but then he pleads the Fifth when he sees Herman the pigeon digging at the books on a shelf pull out the bullet he had fired that night. He completely missed Joe. The police find that Joe had a glycerin pill in his pocket and figure he must have died from a heart attack that night.
            Herman steals the bullet away from the police. Everyone begins to chase him but it is no use Herman flies away with it.
            Glenn Ford was hilarious. I am used to seeing him as the serious hero of westerns or dramas. I was laughing so much with Ford acting like a nervous wreck. I was also laughing in the scenes with Ford and Herman he was so nice with the bird treating it like a sick baby. Ford had so many funny scenes it is hard to pick just one. I thought Debbie Reynolds was an odd pairing with Glenn Ford. I am not crazy about Reynolds as an actress and I am used to seeing Ford acting with these beautiful femme fatale women. But I will say they had some nice chemistry and that is most likely down to the fact that they were very good friends off screen (they had worked on a film together many years before this).

            Gazebo is one of the funniest classic films I have watched. It was a great dark comedy it was hilarious and suspenseful. I never would have watched this film had it not been for Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds being in it and I am so happy they were because I would have missed out on a funny story with a great plot. I wish so called “dark comedies” today could be made as perfect as Gazebo.