Wednesday, 14 October 2009


Having moved to London from the States, single mother Ann Lake enrols her daughter Bunny in the local playgroup. When she joins the other mums picking up their children at the end of the day, no-one seems to know who she’s talking about, and she quickly comes to the conclusion that her daughter is missing. Ann and her journalist brother Steven search the building for Bunny, but soon call upon the help of the police. When Superintendent Newhouse arrives on the scene, Steven takes a dislike to him and does his best to intimidate him. Through his efforts, he accidentally lets slip that, as a kid, Ann had an imaginary friend named Bunny, leading Newhouse to question Bunny’s existence. Looking to prove her sanity, Ann rushes to the “doll hospital” where she had left Bunny’s doll for repairs, but just as she believes she has all the evidence she needs, she is met by a final obstacle from a surprising source.

With such an outlandish premise, it’s easy to imagine a sub-Hitchcockian whodunnit with a hyperventilating heroine, but infamous perfectionist Otto Preminger does an exceptional job of building layers of tension convincingly. Carol Lynley’s performance as Ann Lake is peppered with the amateur-dramatics intonations of Olivia Hussey, but the supreme supporting cast (Laurence Olivier, Keir Dullea, Noel Coward) and darkly humorous script ensure that the film never loses credibility. Mixing inventive camerawork with a haunting score, Bunny Lake is Missing stands out as a classic in the psychological thriller genre.

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