The Last of Sheila

Released 1973




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Movie Summary

Herbert Ross

The Last of Sheila (1973) is a mystery thriller written by Stephen Sondheim (who didn't compose any music for it) and Anthony Perkins (who doesn't act in it). Clinton Greene (James Coburn) is a multi-millionaire Hollywood producer who loses his wife, Sheila (Yvonne Romaine), in a hit-and-run accident. A year later, he invites a group of people to take a Mediterranean cruise with him on his yacht, also called Sheila. On board are actress Alice Wood (Raquel Welch), her husband and manager Anthony (Ian McShane), a talent agent named Christine (Dyan Cannon), a screenwriter named Tom (Richard Benjamin), his wife Lee (Jane Hackett), and film director Philip (James Mason). It soon seems probable that Clinton believes Sheila was murdered and that the killer is on board among the guests. However, on this cruise, it seems that everyone has something to hide.


Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Bette Midler's popular recording of "You've Gotta Have Friends" is used (ironically) over the film's closing credits.

    • The luxurious yacht (belonging to a film producer) aboard which most of this film takes place belonged to a real-life film producer, Sam Spiegel.

    • This film was born out of a shared enthusiasm by writers Anthony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim for puzzles, mystery stories and elaborate games. Each was famous amongst friends for devising extremely complex and ingenious party games, whilst Sondheim was also a crossword-setter for the "New York Times". Some years after the film's release, Perkins said that the puzzle element in the storyline was mostly of Sondheim's devising, whilst the background of Hollywood backbiting and in-fighting was his contribution, as he knew it first-hand from his movie career.

  • QUOTES (3)

  • NOTES (2)

    • Elliot Geisinger, an American documentary producer (and, many years later, also the producer of "Child's Play"), and his wife Elaine make their only screen acting appearances in this film as an American tourist couple in the South of France.

    • The eminent French cinematographer Claude Renoir was replaced as director of photography on this film after a week, following disagreements with Herbert Ross.


    • Some have uncharitably speculated that the difficulties allegedly caused by Raquel Welch during the filming were as a result of her believing that her character, an ambitious starlet whose unscrupulous manager is also her husband, was based on herself, just as the husband-manager (played by Ian McShane) may have been regarded by some as a slightly disguised version of her former husband (and manager) Patrick Curtis. Ms. Welch had divorced Curtis shortly before the film's appearance.

    • It has been alleged that that the unscrupulous Hollywood agent in this film, played by Dyan Cannon, is a not-very-subtle caricature of the real-life agent Sue Mengers, who represented several people connected with this film.

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