“SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE”— Seduction, Murder and Nobility

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“Something for Everyone” 

Seduction, Murder and Nobility

Amos Lassen

I did not think we would ever see “Something for Everyone” on DVD. It is one of the most memorable films, I have ever seen, yet it, until now never been released on disc. Now it has re-mastered in HD. The film is a blend of drama and black comedy with a fairy tale setting in a Bavarian castle. Set in post WWII Germany, we see that the aristocratic Von Ornstein family has fallen on hard times. Countess Von Ornstein (Angela Lansbury) can’t maintain her castle, but suddenly things begin to look a bit better when a handsome and young footman named Conrad (Michael York) comes for a visit. Conrad is determined to become a member of nobility and one by one, cons, seduces, corrupts and compromises everyone he meets. He charms his way into getting a butler position at the castle and before long the he runs the entire household. He starts to have affairs with both the countess’s son and the daughter of a wealthy businessman under the idea of getting his two lovers to marry each other and make the house rich again. Humor and suspense come together and the ending is totally surprising. Harold Price, noted Broadway producer, directed (his first film) the movie (in 1970) that is loosely based on “The Cook” by Harry Kressing.

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The film opens with Conrad (Michael York) bicycling in a lovely forest in Germany. When he stops for a rest, he sees a castle atop a nearby hill. Living in the castle are a widowed Countess and her two teenager children who have been living in poverty since the war. They are upper class but impoverished since the war.

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In order to get to the family, he casually commits murder to make a vacancy for himself and goes on to seduce everyone as he begins his scheme to make his childhood dream of becoming a lord of a castle come true. He is a logical genius, who cunningly anticipates every evil move takes. The countess has emasculated her beautiful, glum son (Anthony Corlan). Her daughter (Jane Carr) is fat and rather nasty. The countess refuses to adapt to poverty and spends her time changing her elegant clothes, philosophizing and wondering why the direct descendant of Attila (which she is) has to be poor now. Conrad enters her household as a footman and, while having an affair with her son, is able to restore the von Ornstein fortunes by arranging marriages and murders of convenience.

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Visually the film is gorgeous   and the actors work well together. York is properly cool and collected as Conrad, a role that is a comic variation on a bisexual hero. Angela Lansbury gives a remarkable virtuoso performance supported by York, a very seductive young Anthony Corlan, and gifted Jane Carr.

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Conrad begins by focusing his attentions on the countess’ beautiful, lonely son Helmut. Helmut’s sister is dumpy and annoying and she has Conrad’s number right off the bat and even dares to ask him if he is a murderer or pervert. His response is congenial and commendably candid.

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So we finally have “Something for Everything” on DVD and blu ray and yes, it is everything I hoped it would be. I felt as if an old friend has joined me for a short visit and I enjoyed every moment of it.

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