The Big Cube (1969)
More like the bizarre cube.
Lana Turner enters the realm of Joan Crawford and William Castle films with this psychedelic trip taking her into hallucinations and attempts to drive her crazy and quite possibly suicide.
As the film opens Lana is retiring from Broadway to marry Dan O’Herlihy and live a life of wealth and luxury. Problems are bound to set in when his daughter from a previous marriage played by Karin Mossberg competes with Lana for her Father’s time and love.
Feeling left out she turns to George Chakiris who is a supporter of LSD trips and free love. He hangs with a group of hippies that consists of a rarely clothed Pamela Rodgers. Lana and Dan are not overly supportive of the group.
Things are about to take a turn towards William Castle territory when Lana loses her new husband in a poorly executed boating disaster. Poorly executed on film that is. Obviously the budget couldn’t afford an elaborate set up so a hastily edited pastiche has been sewn together to give us the basic idea.
Chakiris who has his hooks into daughter Karin and sees dollar signs in the air just might be trying to send Lana over the edge with some of his LSD that he has managed to mix in with Lana’s sleeping pills. Is daughter Karin involved in the plot with her new husband or not. There’s a fortune at stake here should Lana take her own life leaving her step daughter the keys to the kingdom.
Perhaps aging leading man Richard Egan who once guided Lana’s on stage career can step in and help solve the mystery and bring Lana back to the limelight and resurrect her career all in one heroic sweep.
I for one have never been overly fond of the psychedelic film era. Perhaps you had to live it to appreciate it. Lana is so out of place here that one longs for a glorious black and white feature from her past. The photography here doesn’t do her any favors either in her close ups. Egan looks ancient as well for a man of 48. As for Chakiris, like the psychedelic movement, I have never understood his appeal either.
The production is a south of the border extravaganza from director Tito Davison whose credits seem to be mostly made up of Spanish speaking films during a lengthy career going all the way back to the thirties.
A curio to be sure but nothing more than that. This type of film may have occasionally worked for Bette and Joan but for Lana fans let’s remember her as she was.