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The Allendale Branch Library Presents The Loved One (1965)

Film Screening, Discussion & Refreshments

Published on Sunday, March 8, 2020 | 6:51 pm
Rod Steiger and Anjanette Comer. Photo courtesy Pasadena Public Library

“Comedies about death are few and far between, and they usually explore the comedic elements inherent in the awareness of our own mortality. ‘The Loved One’ is the only comedy I can think of that’s about the process of dying and the industry of death. It’s a satire poking fun at what remains our most taboo and forbidden and sacred subject, and about how, only in America, death becomes yet another capitalistic pursuit. At the time, American movie audiences were growing more sophisticated and demanding, but they weren’t ready yet for ‘The Loved One.’ It flopped at the box office, and initial critical reaction was mixed, at best, with many of the leading critics of the time expressing shock and outrage. The film has grown in critical stature since, but it’s still difficult to find many people who’ve seen it. Maybe people still aren’t ready to laugh at how we process the dead. Maybe they never will be.” – Dave Gourdoux

In conjunction with its ongoing “Allendale at the Movies” series, the Allendale Branch Library presents a screening and discussion of “The Loved One,” described as “the motion picture with something to offend everyone,” on Saturday, March 21, 2020, at 2:00 p.m., at 1130 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena, California. Light refreshments will be served.

The funeral business and the American way of death are targeted in this wickedly wacky, resplendently ridiculous 1965 farce based on British author Evelyn Waugh’s 1948 macabre comic masterpiece. Directed by Tony Richardson with a screenplay by Terry Southern and Christopher Isherwood, “The Loved One” stars Robert Morse as a bemused would-be poet who gets entangled with an unctuous cemetery entrepreneur (Jonathan Winters), a mom-obsessed mortician (Rod Steiger), and other bizarre characters played by such adept farceurs as John Gielgud, Robert Morley, Anjanette Comer, Roddy McDowall, Tab Hunter, Milton Berle, James Coburn, and Liberace.

The film is presented in conjunction with “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” the Allendale Branch Library’s month-long display (March 2020) featuring both juvenile and adult titles examining the cultural and societal aspects of death, including the birth of the modern-day funeral industry as well as the bereavement process.

Allendale Branch Library is located at 1130 S. Marengo Ave., in Pasadena.

Please note that the film is not rated, but features adult content. For further information, contact the Allendale Branch Library by phone at (626) 744-7260 or visit







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