It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
One thing you can say about "Pretty Maids All in a Row." Rock Hudson sex comedies sure have changed since "Pillow Talk." This time Hudson turns up in an unlikely but interesting casting as a high school coach, counselor and sex murderer. He's awfully wholesome about the whole business: giving earnest little pep talks before he seduces his young students and then knocks them off.
The director is Roger Vadim, whose recent work exhibits a fascination for the relationship between sex and violence. "Barbarella" (1968), that horribly unsure attempt to be camp without actually being camp, had poor Jane Fonda on the rack in a sort of 22d Century reprise of de Sade. But the marquis and his perversions are European, somehow, and so for his first Hollywood movie, Vadim has gone in for straightforward murder.
He's also been able to observe an American high school with a certain degree of macabre accuracy. I understand that M-G-M rented a whole high school and hired its football team for Vadim, and he's done a real job on them.
Hudson doesn't really want to murder all those young girls, you see. It's just that he's happily married and they keep after him until, helpless male that he is, he surrenders to what I suppose must be described as their nubile young charms (although most of the high school "girls" look like past, present or aspiring gatefolds). Then, when they threaten to blackmail him, what choice does he have, except bloody murder, eh?
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