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Luca Roberts
Luca Roberts

Bunny Lake Is Missing


Bunny Lake Is Missing is a 1965 British-American psychological mystery thriller film, directed and produced by Otto Preminger. Filmed in black-and-white widescreen format in London, it was based on the 1957 novel Bunny Lake Is Missing by Merriam Modell. Itstars Carol Lynley as a mother searching for her missing daughter, Keir Dullea as her brother, and Laurence Olivier as the police officer investigating the case. The score is by Paul Glass and the opening theme is often heard as a refrain. The rock band the Zombies also appear in the film, in a television broadcast.




Bunny Lake Is Missing



American single mother Ann Lake, who recently moved to London from New York, arrives at the Little People's Garden pre-school to collect her daughter, Bunny. The child has mysteriously disappeared. An administrator recalls meeting Ann but claims never to have seen the missing child. Ann and her brother Steven search the school and find a peculiar old woman living upstairs, who claims she collects children's nightmares. In desperation, the Lakes call the police and Superintendent Newhouse arrives on the scene. Everyone becomes a suspect and Superintendent Newhouse is steadfast, diligently following every lead. The police and Newhouse decide to visit the Lakes' new residence.


On her return home, Ann discovers she still has the claim ticket for Bunny's doll, which was taken to a doll hospital for repairs. Regarding the doll as proof of Bunny's existence, she frantically rushes to the doll hospital late at night and retrieves the doll. Steven arrives later and when Ann shows him the doll, Steven burns the doll, hoping to destroy it, then knocks Ann unconscious. He takes Ann to a hospital and tells the desk nurse that Ann has been hallucinating about a missing girl who does not exist. Ann is put under observation with instructions for her to be sedated if she awakes.


Based on a 1957 novel by Marryam Modell (as Evelyn Piper). While the book and movie share the same story hook (A little girl is missing and authorities doubt she ever existed.), they have different settings (The book is set in New York City; the movie in London.), different characters, and a different solution to the mystery.


In the pub, a television can be seen high on the back wall of the bar. The newscaster is just about to describe what Bunny Lake was wearing before she was reported missing, when the channel is suddenly switched to a young British group (The Zombies) playing a very catchy song with lyrics that actually are related to the plot of the movie. Much later in the storyline, Ann Lake escapes her hospital room through a basement level maintenance room where she runs past an old janitor sitting at a workbench listening to a transistor radio, and the same song is being broadcast again.


Perhaps Otto Preminger's last really good movie, (!) Bunny Lake is also one of the last big productions filmed in B&W. The polished cinematography makes us nostalgic for the streets of a London long gone, that most of us never saw in person. Preminger and cameraman Denys Coop shoot in impressive real locations. Bunny's preschool looks too real to be a set, what with a bulky Panavision camera snaking through narrow corridors and up a tight stairway. The creepy décor in Ann's new apartment seems a bit much until we meet the landlord that put them there. A real hospital interior provides spooky dark hallways and a room holding caged experimental animals. And somebody couldn't resist making Ann use a flashlight to search through a room stacked with broken dolls. Might the dolls symbolize the mystery of a child that may not exist? Is this where the spirits of murdered children come to rest? Is Otto Preminger bald? Bunny Lake's surface is too realistic for us to ask why the repair shop has so many unclaimed dolls on its shelves. The camera is constantly prowling and craning about, as if on its own search for the missing child.


One of the best examples of a simple yet smart Saul Bass idea is the main title sequence for Bunny Lake is Missing. The film is about an emotionally disturbed person involved in the disappearance of a child. To hint at the character's state of mind, a hand tears shapes out of a black screen, each hole revealing another credit. The torn edges are jagged and help to set the mood of the film. It ends with the shape of a girl being torn out of the paper, as if she's missing from the sheet of paper (which is then used again in the poster). It seems like such a simple idea but getting there is difficult. It takes years of experience to have the ability to boil ideas down to this kind of purity and Bass didn't muck it up with anything he didn't need: no color, no jumpy edits, no tricks. Just the raw, naked concept standing on its own. You can see this same approach time and time again in his work: great ideas condensed down to their purest form, then simply executed.


We are aware that there are films on the site that were added when the criteria for the inclusion of locations was very different from today and, as a result, there may be scenes missing from some productions. Please do not forward additional screen captures to us but bring the detail to our attention, for we do, and are, 're-addressing' these older entries as time allows.


N.p. Wheel Productions, 1965. Collection of five vintage borderless black and white photographs from the 1965 film. One with studio information printed at the bottom margin, the remaining being reference photographs. Several stamped production No. 65-316 on the verso. Based on Merriam Modell's 1957 novel. A single mother is thrown into an existential nightmare when her little girl Bunny goes missing, with all of Bunny's possessions apparently stolen from their home, leading police to doubt the girl's existence. Set and shot on location in London. 10 x 8 inches. Very Good, first photo with a small corner chip at the bottom left.Grant UK. Spicer UK. [Book #150666]


This sounds amazing and I never would have picked up on its feminist themes by just reading the blurb, but how brilliant to design a missing persons plot around the plight of an unwed mother. The suspense would probably kill me, but it sounds like an impressive thriller. 041b061a72


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