The Loved One (1965) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Loved One1965

The Loved One (1965)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Loved One Photos

Movie Info

The satire in Evelyn Waugh's darkly comic novel The Loved One was originally double-edged. The book was not only an attack on the Southern California funeral industry but also a lampoon of Hollywood's "British colony," those clannish, cricket-playing English actors of years gone by who bemoaned the artificiality of Tinseltown while eagerly accepting the demeaning and insignificant movie roles they were offered. The film version of The Loved One, anxious to live up to its ad-campaign promise of containing "something to offend everybody," downplays the British-colony business (save for the presence of the magnificent Robert Morley) and pumps up the "death" gags. Innocent British poet Dennis Barlow (Robert Morse) falls in love with funeral-home cosmetician Aimee Thanatogenos (Anjanette Comer), who in turn is loved by prissy funeral director Mr. Joyboy (Rod Steiger). The latter lives with his obese mother (Ayllene Gibbons), whose eating sequence is far more hilarious (and more tasteless) than many of the film's calculatedly "black" jokes. A huge guest-star cast is headed by Jonathan Winters in a dual role as a funeral home manager and his covetous twin brother, who operates an elaborate pet cemetery. Musician Paul Williams is also on hand as a 13-year-old aeronautics genius who develops a method of sending corpses into "eternal orbit" (a plot device that Waugh neglected to include in his novel). Film historian William K. Everson has commented that The Loved One is one of the best and most underrated comedies of the 1960s. For others, especially those who might feel guilty chuckling at the sight of Anjanette Comer committing suicide with an embalming needle, it's purely a matter of taste...or lack of same.

Watch it now


Robert Morse
as Dennis Barlow
Jonathan Winters
as Henry Glenworthy/Rev. Wilbur Glenworthy
Anjanette Comer
as Aimee Thanatogenous
Rod Steiger
as Mr. Joyboy
Dana Andrews
as Gen. Brinkman
Milton Berle
as Mr. Kenton
James Coburn
as Immigration Officer
John Gielgud
as Sir Francis Hinsley
Margaret Leighton
as Mrs. Kenton
as Mr. Starker
Robert Morley
as Sir Ambrose Abercrombie
Lionel Stander
as Guru Brahmin
Ayllene Gibbons
as Joyboy's mother
Bernie Kopell
as Assistant to Guru Brahmin
Asa Maynor
as Secretary to D.J. Jr.
Alan Napier
as English Club Official
Martin Ransohoff
as Lorenzo Medici
Roxanne Arlen
as Whispering Glades Hostess
Pamela Curran
as Whispering Glades Hostess
Claire Kelly
as Whispering Glades Hostess
John Bleifer
as Mr. Bogaloff
Bella Bruck
as Mrs. Bogaloff
Ed Reimers
as Whispering Glades Minister
Paul Williams
as Gunther Fry
Beverly Powers
as Orgy Dancer
Chick Hearn
as `Resurrection Now' TV Announcer
Robert Easton
as Dusty Acres
Don Haggerty
as Haggerty
Barbara Nichols
as Sadie Blodgett
Reta Shaw
as Manager of The Zomba Cafe
View All

Critic Reviews for The Loved One

All Critics (19)

Southern has set himself an insoluble problem, and his response is appropriately neurotic and disconnected, a set of not very funny extraneous gags.

January 25, 2022 | Full Review…

Time has worn much of the edge off the outrageous antics, though the scenes involving Mr. Joyboy's mother still have the power to (pick your poison) amuse/offend/anger/irritate/upset.

November 21, 2021 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

It is hard to understand how a witty, tightly organized extravaganza like the Waugh novel... could have resulted in such a queasy, humorless, formless botch.

August 13, 2019 | Full Review…

A suicidal comedy embalmed in its own sick jokes...

June 26, 2019 | Full Review…

The corpse's laughter, the mortician's art

February 14, 2010 | Full Review…

Misfire spoof on LA's funeral industry, American greed and Brits in Hollywood.

June 25, 2009 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Loved One


Definitely not for everyone. Pitch black comedy with good acting and some trenchant observations will be loved by some and hated by many but it is certainly unique.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


A very, very funny film featuring everyone famous in 1964. Irreverent and scandalous (at least for the time). The cameo by Liberace is to die for! If you're in a retro mood and ready for a brouhaha that would knock Amy Semple McPherson on her righteous back, see "The Loved One"!

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer


Evelyn Waugh's clever and at times scathing look at both the film and funeral industries. I find the idea ammusing that the whole concept for the novel on which this film is based, sprung from Waugh's brief experience in Los Angeles while trying to get a film version of Brideshead Revisited put together, Legend has it that he was so taken aback by his experience with the film indurtry and of attending just ONE Hollywood style funeral (with all of it's trappings) that he had to write about it. Thanks goodness he did as the results are hilarious. Written as only Evelyn Waugh can write, we are forced to step back and really take a look at the absurdities of certain people, places and social interactions. With very ammusing results. This was my first time seeing Jonathan Winters in a (mostly) serious role and he was quite good. A young Robert Morse (of Mad Men fame) is superb as the lovable, but bumbling Englishman trying to make sense of it all. And Rod Steiger performance as Mr. Loveboy is beyond discription. There are also cameo's galore throuhout the film. It does suffer a bit from some of the trappings of an "older" film, but for those who appreciate film and literary're in for a treat.

Robert C
Robert C

Super Reviewer

The Loved One Quotes

News & Features