LADIES IN RETIREMENT
1941, Sony Repertory, 91 min, USA, Dir: Charles Vidor

Ida Lupino scores as a timid housekeeper who becomes enmeshed in murder and madness. Ida tends to an aged actress (Isobel Elsom) and persuades her to take in her two eccentric sisters (Elsa Lanchester and Edith Barrett). All bets are off when a mysterious stranger (Lupino's then-husband Louis Hayward) arrives to stir the pot further. There is nothing retiring about this suspenseful Victorian noir, which has been unjustly overlooked and underappreciated.


THE BISHOP’S WIFE
1947, Park Circus, 109 min, USA, Dir: Henry Koster

When a bishop (David Niven) trying to build a cathedral prays for divine guidance, he gets it in the form of a charismatic angel named Dudley (Cary Grant). Focused on raising construction funds, the bishop neglects many things - including his wife (Loretta Young), to whom Dudley is eventually drawn. This delightful Christmastime comedy was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one for Best Sound.


MURDER BY DEATH
1976, Sony Repertory (Columbia), 94 min, USA, Dir: Robert Moore

Eccentric millionaire Truman Capote invites six of the world’s greatest detectives to his mansion for “dinner and a murder.” When the sleuths (Peter Sellers, David Niven, Maggie Smith, James Coco, Peter Falk and Elsa Lanchester) arrive and discover that the host is the apparent victim, they attempt to solve the puzzle and survive the evening themselves. Neil Simon’s dazzling script parodies virtually all the conventions of the murder mystery while throwing in enough red herrings to keep the audience guessing until the very end. With Alec Guinness.


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