Two on a Guillotine (1965) starring Connie Stevens, Dean Jones, Cesar Romero
In Two on a Guillotine, the daughter of a deceased stage magician must spend a week in a haunted house to receive her inheritance. Romance & mystery follow.
In short, Two on a Guillotine is a romance mixed in with a haunted house movie. The film begins with stage magician The Great Duquesene (played well by Cesar Romero) stabbing his wife with a sword. On stage, of course. The wife, Connie Stevens in a dual role, is clearly unhappy, and also clearly wants to spend more time with their infant daughter. And Duquesene wants to upgrade the finale with a large, finicky guillotine …
Fast forward twenty years to the death of Duquesne, with his daughter coming back for the funeral. Dean Jones plays a reporter trying to get a story angle, and he follows the young woman to her mansion. In addition to inheriting $300,000 American dollars (a fortune in 1965), she gets the mansion and all within. With one little catch…
She has to stay a week in the magician’s mansion, triggering the haunted house aspect of the movie. And the young couple begin falling in love …
- Duquesene had a glass window in his custom coffin, and had it chained before his burial. Is he really dead?
- If the daughter doesn’t stay the week, Duquesene’s servants inherit instead. Are they behind the spooky goings on?
- Is the young lady’s mother missing after her mysterious disappearance … or dead?
- Where’s the Scooby gang when you need them?
Two on a Guillotine is an enjoyable, if predictable romantic haunted house movie. It’s not groundbreaking, but enjoyable, with good acting all around. The go go club scene is both dated and superfluous, though.
Cast of characters
- Connie Stevens (Way … Way Out) as Cassie/Melinda Duquesne. She plays the dual role of the wife (who disappeared mysteriously) and the daughter who inherits. As the daughter, she turns in a believable performance as the young lady who feels abandoned. Her missing mother has never tried to contact her. Neither has her father, who certainly could have, but didn’t. She was raised by an aunt in Wisconsin. She tends to scream at every “cat scare” in the mansion.
- Dean Jones (Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo) as Val Henderson. The handsome young reporter who’s eager for a story. He pretends to be a realtor interested in the property. Until he begins to fall in love with Melinda, and becomes protective. And then she finds out he’s a reporter …
- Cesar Romero (Week-end in Havana) as John Harley Duquesne. The deceased magician who left the mansion to his daughter. A bit of a practical joker, with skeletons on wire, moanings on a tape recorder, etc. He apparently slowly became unhinged after Melinda’s disappearance.
- Parley Baer as Buzzy Sheridan. Duquesne’s former manager. He and Dolly stand to inherit if Cassie leaves.
- Virginia Gregg (Operation Petticoat) as Dolly Bast. Cassie’s nursemaid when she was an infant. She continued to serve Duquesne, and grew to love him. Dolly took care of him as he gradually became unhinged. She becomes very important towards the end of the movie.
- Connie Gilchrist as Ramona Ryerdon. The housekeeper that Cassie hires. After her first prank scare, she quits & leaves. A comedy character.
- John Hoyt (Attack of the Puppet People) as Carl Vickers. The lawyer who reads the will. A minor role.
- What Is This Thing Called Love? Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter, Sung by Connie Stevens
Editorial review of Two on a Guillotine courtesy of Amazon.com
Twenty years ago, a little accident with a guillotine trick left magician Duke Duquesne’s wife and on-stage assistant without a head…and their baby daughter Cassie without a mother. Now The Great Duquesne may have another trick up his sleeve. He dies, leaving Cassie a sizeable inheritance if she’ll spend seven nights in his spooky mansion. With a fearless young reporter at her side, Cassie braves terrors that could be the work of evil spirits. Or are they illusions dreamed up by Cassie’s dear, demented dad? Connie Stevens, Dean Jones (in his pre-The Love Bug days) and Cesar Romero star in a creepy horrorfest that offers fans scares, screams, a return of that guillotine and Max (Gone with the Wind) Steiner’s penultimate score.