Ninety Degrees in the Shade (1965)
English beauty queen Anne Heywood stars as a deli clerk having an affair with her married boss (James Booth). A crook as well as an adulterer, Booth has stolen some of the deli's liquor stock and refilled the bottles with tea. Heywood knows Booth's a cad but is slow to break off the affair. When company auditors discover the tea, Booth tries to persuade Heywood to take the rap for him, on the grounds that she would only get probation whereas he'd go to jail. Disappointed by her lover, fearful of the auditors, and tortured by her own conscience, Heywood kills herself. Booth responds by hiring another clerk and flirting with her.
Directed by the Czech Jiri Weiss, filmed in black and white, told out of sequence, and filled with frenetic jazz, Ninety Degrees in the Shade is easily the artiest film Booth ever made. It impressed more than one reviewer with its sizzling sex scenes, but I, alas, saw nothing that would even qualify as a sex scene (and am still searching for an explanation for this odd discrepancy) .
Ninety Degrees won a UNICRIT award and got a Golden Globe nomination for best English-language foreign film. It is now out of print and virtually impossible to find (though the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, CA, owns a copy).
Text copyright Diana Blackwell, 2002
Letter from "George": 90 Degrees in the Shade on DVD
George Abagnalo comments on Ninety Degrees in the Shade
Films and Filming, April, 1965
Anne Heywood site gives her bio and information about her work, including Ninety Degrees in the Shade. (http://www.virtualbrum.co.uk/aghs/stmarys/aheywood.htm)