Written by: John Gay, based on the novel by William Goldman
Directed by: Jack Smight
Starring: Rod Steiger, Lee Remick, George Segal, Eileen Heckart, Murray Hamilton
Features:Released by: Paramount
My Advice: Rent it.
Christopher Gill (Steiger), while a successful theater manager, has never achieved much success as an actor, especially when compared to his famous mother. But heâ€™s going to show them all. With accents and disguises, he will perform to lonely, middle-age women with roles that imply trust and safety: a priest, a plumber, and a cop among others. These women will never suspect his performance until he gets his hands around their throats, choking the life out of them. As an actor, Gill always likes good reviews and when he gets an unintentional one from Det. Morris Brummel (Segal), he makes the cop his confidante. Brummel would rather be spending time with his new girlfriend Kate Palmer (Remick), but Gill has already made plans for one hell of a curtain call.
The tone of the film is radically different from your standard slasher film. There is very hardly any blood (Gill strangles his victims) and thereâ€™s no dystopian gloom you associate with movies like Insomnia or Murder By Numbers. Itâ€™s hard to say if it was the directorâ€™s decision or the time in which the movie was made. Director Smight uses the scenery of New York and the permanent crowds to give the audience a sense of isolation when surrounds by strangers.
Itâ€™s a shame, but there are no special features on this at all. Rod Steiger passed before he could record a commentary, but is still available. So are the writer and director. While this film isnâ€™t as well known, No Way To Treat A Lady is an interesting film and should have gotten some treatment–even a ten minute featurette would have done wonders for the disc. Even so, itâ€™s still a rental to give it a viewing.