HOW AWFUL ABOUT ALLAN (TV) (director: Curtis Harrington; screenwriter: teleplay by Henry Farrell/from the novel by Henry Farrell; cinematographer: Fleet Southcott; editor: Richard Farrell); music: LaurenceRosenthal; cast: Anthony Perkins (Allan Colleigh), Julie Harris (Katherine Colleigh), Joan Hackett (Olive), Kent Smith (Raymond), Robert H. Harris (Dr. Ellins), Molly Dodd (Inmate), Billy Bowles (Harold Dennis), Trent Dolan (Eric), Jeannette Howe (Katherine – Child), Kenneth Lawrence (Allan as a child); Runtime: 74; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: George Edwards; Tango; 1970)
“The made-for-TV movie starred Anthony Perkins, in his only TV movie, with him effectively playing another over-the-top psycho role.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Warning: spoiler in review.
Psychological thriller directed by Curtis Harrington (“Night Tide”/”Ruby”/”What’s The Matter With Helen?”)from a teleplay byHenry Farrell, who based it on his novel. The made-for-TV movie starred Anthony Perkins, in his only TV movie, with him effectively playing another over-the-top psycho role. In this Perkins is Allan Colleigh, who is so guilt-ridden that he caused the house fire that killed his celebrated professor father and disfigured his sister Katherine (Julie Harris), dad’s favorite, that he becomes semi-blind from psychosomatic causes and spends 8 months in the state mental hospital. Released to the custody of his sister, the disturbed Allan suspects that the new student boarder in the house, Harold Dennis, is in reality sis’s old boyfriend Eric and he’s haunting him with strange voices trying to drive him to suicide or to be deemed too crazy to live on the outside. Allan’s former girlfiend Olive (Joan Hackett) looks after him and he relates his troublesome suspicions to her, which she finds hard to believe. Just before Allan is sent back to the mental hospital for acting weird, sis reveals she can’t forgive her brother for killing her beloved brainy dad and tries to burn down the house with Allan trapped in a locked room.
Though Perkins is perfect for the part, the story is too weak and the production lacks suspense to be much more than a disturbing look atsomeone with a fragile psychewho is also a paranoid and a creep. The eerie atmosphere is established when the filmmaker shows things blurred as the Perkins character sees it, so that we never clearly see the boarder and are not sure until the end if Allan is a complete nut job or if sis harbors revenge to get even with him for killing her beloved dad.
REVIEWED ON 8/12/2011 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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