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The Last of Sheila (1973)

aka The Last of Sheila

"Any number can play. Any number can die."

Directed By: 
Details: 120 mins · English, French · PG (USA)

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Taglines:

"Any number can play. Any number can die."

Plot:

On a one-week Mediterranean pleasure cruise aboard the yacht of movie producer Clinton Greene (Coburn), the guests include actress Alice Wood (Welch), her talent-manager husband Anthony (McShane), talent agent Christine (Cannon), screenwriter Tom Parkman (Benjamin), Tom's wife Lee (Hackett), and film director Philip Dexter (Mason).


The trip is, in fact, a reunion. With the exception of Lee, all were together at Clinton's home one year before, on the night a hit-and-run accident resulted in the death of Clinton's wife, gossip columnist Sheila Greene (a cameo by former Hammer horror actress Yvonne Romain).


Once the cruise is under way, Clinton, a parlor game enthusiast, informs everyone that the week's entertainment will consist of "The Sheila Greene Memorial Gossip Game." The six guests are each assigned an index card containing a secret—or, in Clinton's words, "a pretend piece of gossip"—that must be kept hidden from the others. The object of the game is to discover everyone else's secret while protecting one's own.


Each night the yacht anchors at a different Mediterranean port city, where one of the six secrets is disclosed to the entire group. The guests are given a clue, then sent ashore to find the proof of who among them holds the card bearing that night's secret. The game for that night ends when the actual holder of the subject secret discovers the proof. Anyone who has not yet solved the clue receives no points on Clinton's scoreboard for that round.


Following the revelation of the first card, "YOU are a SHOPLIFTER," suspicion begins that each guest's card does not contain "pretend" gossip but in fact an actual, embarrassing secret.


When Clinton does not return from the second evening's installment of the game—where the second card was revealed to be "YOU are a HOMOSEXUAL"—the guests return ashore and discover Clinton's corpse. Before contacting authorities, one reveals that his card reads, "YOU are a HIT-AND-RUN KILLER."


This begins a macabre game of musical chairs of sorts, with guests jousting over who lays claim to which dirty little secret. There is an increasingly growing paranoia over the obvious implication that both Sheila and Clinton were killed by somebody on this yacht.


The game being played is actually just a portion of a more elaborate puzzle created by Clinton, including additional clues that are ever-present and the suggestion that any guest could win the game without even leaving the yacht. "If you're smart enough," Clinton taunts.


Although his own diabolical game did not end as Clinton planned, characters continue to discover these clues, resulting in another death on board ship and the identity of which guest killed the host.

Release Dates:

DVD : 2004-04-20