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The Honey Pot (1967)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime | 21 May 1967 (USA)
In Venice, a millionaire hires an actor to help him prank three greedy ex-girlfriends into thinking he's dying and leaving his fortune to one of them.

Writers:

Frederick Knott (play), Thomas Sterling (novel) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rex Harrison ... Cecil Fox
Susan Hayward ... Mrs. Sheridan
Cliff Robertson ... William McFly
Capucine ... Princess Dominique
Edie Adams ... Merle McGill
Maggie Smith ... Sarah Watkins
Adolfo Celi ... Inspector Rizzi
Herschel Bernardi ... Oscar Ludwig (scenes deleted)
Massimo Serato ... The Pretender (scenes deleted)
Hugh Manning Hugh Manning ... Volpone
David Dodimead David Dodimead ... Mosca
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Antonio Corevi Antonio Corevi ... Tailor (scenes deleted)
Cy Grant Cy Grant ... Revenue Agent (scenes deleted)
Frank Latimore ... Revenue Agent (scenes deleted)
Carlos Alberto Valles Carlos Alberto Valles ... Assistant Tailor (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Inspired by a performance of his favorite play, "Volpone," twentieth century millionaire Cecil Fox (Sir Rex Harrison) devises an intricate plan to trick three of his former mistresses into believing he is dying. Although the women are wealthy in their own right, all have good reason to covet his fortune. To assist him in his scheme, Fox hires William McFly (Cliff Robertson), a gigolo and sometime actor, to act as his secretary/servant. Fox is soon visited at his "deathbed" by the three former mistresses: Merle McGill (Edie Adams), a fading Hollywood sex symbol; Princess Dominique (Capucine), who once took a cruise on Fox's yacht; and Mrs. Lone Star Crockett Sheridan (Susan Hayward), a Texas hypochondriac who travels with an enigmatic nurse/companion (Dame Maggie Smith). As Fox and McFly act out the charade, things take an unexpected turn from comical farce to full-blown murder mystery. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You are cordially invited to enjoy a perfectly elegant case of murder!

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | Italy

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 May 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Joseph L. Mankiewicz' The Honey Pot See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,159
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The great Italian Cinematographer Gianni Di Venanzo died suddenly of hepatitis (aged only forty-five) during the making of this movie, with many weeks of the five-month shooting schedule to go before completion. His operator, Pasqualino De Santis, took over as Director of Photography, but refused credit in this capacity, although he would quickly go on to international renown with his work for Luchino Visconti, Franco Zeffirelli, Joseph Losey, and others. See more »

Quotes

Inspector Rizzi: Miss McGill, I understand the necessity of you to arrive in Venice incognito.
Merle McGill: I wouldn't go anywheres
[sic]
Merle McGill: uninvited.
Inspector Rizzi: I must have used the wrong word. My English is uh... .
See more »

Connections

Features Perry Mason (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Modern twist on Volpone glows
15 June 2007 | by escheticSee all my reviews

Coming at the end of a prosperous string of all-star mystery films, THE HONEY POT suffered more from a lame title and timing than anything on screen when first released (an even worse title, "Up Pops Murder" didn't help when the film was first released to television).

The typically superb script and direction from Joseph L. Mankiewicz, from a play by mystery writer Frederick Knott, inspired in turn by Ben Johnson's classic play, VOLPONE, THE HONEY POT could not have had a better cast with Rex Harrison (at the top of his game) as the supposedly super-wealthy Cecil Fox mentally tilting with his secretary, Cliff Robertson, and a nosy nurse/love interest for Robertson, a very young Maggie Smith (younger viewers may be interested to see this very different performance from HARRY POTTER's Professor McGonagall - as well as her amazing Desdemona opposite Olivier's OTHELLO) and a trio of ex-loves, Edie Adams, Cappucine and Susan Hayward all in Fox's beautiful Venetian palatzo (the exterior shots are as gorgeous and the interiors).

A death happens (accident? perhaps murder?) and a Venetian police inspector, Adolfo Celi, enters the picture (lovely side note as his family at home is enraptured with PERRY MASON on American TV more than his real-life work) and the film starts to leave Ben Johnson's Volpone behind and delve into more complex games.

To be frank, this film has long been among my favorites - I have been accused of teaching an entire university course on Mystery Writers just to develop an audience for it. Showing the film at the conclusion of the course, after considering the progression of great mystery writing from Poe to Conan Doyle to Christie, Hammett and beyond, this marvelous under-appreciated work from Knott & Mankiewicz never fails to grab them. It's well worth a look for anyone interested in good literate fun, great performances and writing that don't depend on splatter gore, special effects or CGI.

While the ongoing box-office clout of stars Harrison and Hayward got the film a limited VHS release, it's hard to a copy today - but well worth the search.

Wonderful film...if only it had a better title.


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