The Secret of My Success (1965)
“How three beautiful girls love for fun – and murder for profit.”
Director: Andrew L. Stone
Cast: James Booth, Shirley Jones, Stella Stevens
Synopsis: Arthur Tate is a dull-minded, low-ranking police officer in a small English town. However, with help from his kindly, perceptive mother solves a number of crimes which might just secure him a big promotion.
I’m not quite sure what to make of The Secret of My Success. Either the quality of the print that I watched was pretty poor, or it was very cheaply filmed. The lighting seems to be non-existent at times, and the whole picture has a very amateurish look to it.
As a black comedy, The Secret of My Success starts off pretty well as it relates the story of a beautiful wife (Stella Stevens) who murders her husband and manages to trick the local bobby into unwittingly disposing of the body. The film then changes tack as it embarks on a comedy-horror sequence involving giant spiders in a stately mansion. To be honest, it’s all a very bizarre mish-mash that never achieves the necessary tone to be considered either broad comedy or satire – the two stools between which it falls.
James Booth is unconvincing as the rather dim-witted policeman who rises to prominence thanks to his mother’s behind-the-scenes manipulations – comedy never really was Booth’s forte. Lionel Jeffries, meanwhile, is rather better in a multitude of roles, managing to display a versatility that is not always evident in his screen performances.
(Reviewed 24th March 2002)