This piece was originally Published by Brian Sauer on his blog Rupert Pupkin Speaks as part of the Underrated Thrillers series by author Jen Johans in the fall of 2014.
A major change of pace for MGM musical screenwriter George Wells who adapted Alec Coppel’s hit 1958 Broadway play for the The Blue Dahlia director George Marshall, The Gazebo plays equally well as a comedy and a crime thriller thanks to its stark black-and-white cinematography and the terrific chemistry of leads Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds.
Similar in tone to Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry, which the filmmakers get plenty of mileage out of throughout the film that involves a body that won’t stay buried and a darkly comedic script that adheres to Murphy’s Law, The Gazebo centers on a show business couple whose livelihood is threatened by a blackmailer.
Having managed to keep his wife (Reynolds) out of the loop so far, crime show television screenwriter/director Ford runs out of patience and money when the insistent blackmailer tells him he plans to release nude photos of his now successful actress wife.
Following a “hypothetical” creative meeting with a police officer friend and a few improvisational words of wisdom gleaned from a phone call with Hitch, Ford decides he’s going to get rid of the scoundrel once and for all, especially after his wife unknowingly gives him the perfect place to bury the body beneath a gazebo she’s just purchased.
Filled with surprising plot twists and frequently funny mishaps beautifully played by Ford in a standout performance that keep this fast-paced film firing on all cylinders, The Gazebo has been beautifully remastered by Warner Archive, giving viewers weaned on the Coen Brothers a chance to see a vintage crime comedy that still crackles with wit and suspense.
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