No Way to Treat a Lady (1968) Film Review

No Way to Treat a Lady
DIRECTOR: Jack Smight
BOTTOM LINE: “No Way to Treat a Lady “was adapted by John Gay from William Goldman’s novel of the same name and directed by Jack Smight. Christopher Gill (Rod Steiger) is a serial killer fixated on his late mother, a noted stage actress. Gill preys on older women who remind him of mama. A Broadway theatre owner and director, he adopts various disguises such as a priest, policeman, plumber, hairdresser, etc., to put his victims at ease (and avoid being identified) before strangling them!
“Dorian”, Gill’s hairdresser persona is, of course, gay with a classic sibilant-rich delivery. In the movie’s best scene, just as he is caressing the neck of his intended victim Miss Belle Poppie (a marvelous Barbara Baxley who has a household full of cats) during a wig fitting – “isn’t that absolutely fantastic and breathtaking” – he is interrupted by the arrival of her sister Sylvia (Doris Roberts, always so good at putting someone in their place) who knows that something is not quite right. Dorian reacts with “well honestly, the suspicion of some people” – and after Sylvia’s “you homo” delivers the movie’s classic line “well, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person”. As a gay man, I should be disturbed by Steiger’s queer turn. However, this scene always ends with me rolling on the floor with laughter.
Also starring George Segal, Eileen Heckart, and an underused but still captivating Lee Remick.
POST TITLE: Twenty-Seven Queer Films 1967-1976. Queer Cinema Comes Out. – TheBrownees
CATEGORY: My Favorites
STREAMING: Amazon Prime and Apple TV+ 

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