Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) Poster

A woman reports that her young daughter is missing, but there seems to be no evidence that she ever existed.


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30 June 2004 | lucy-19
| Great British movie
Stuffed with wonderful character actors and recognisably shabby locations - like the little school in an old house where the cook is making junket (whatever happened to junket?). Her accent is familiar: she once played a beautiful spy in 39 Steps, warning of leaking "secrets vital to your air defence". After many viewings, it's easy to forget that it's a mystery and everyone is a suspect. Has Bunny been abducted by sinister Martita Hunt (the slightly dotty founder of the school)? Or creepy Noel Coward (the landlord)? The Zombies song "Just Out of Reach" keeps being reprised.

They were more famous, though, for a song called "She's Not There". How's that for intertextuality? The script is by John and Penelope Mortimer. John is famous for the Rumpole series, and Laurence Olivier's detective has echoes of Rumpole, muttering that bus conductors never notice anything - they are dreamers and philosophers. Noel Coward's character too is very Mortimerian: "There are many at the BBC who bear bruises left by the love of Horatio Wilson." Mortimer reveres Shakespeare and Conan Doyle and sometimes it shows.

The plot is stuffed, sometimes clunkily, with issues that were only just beginning to be spoken about: perversion (in the person of whip-wielding Horatio), teen pregnancy (Anne Lake seems about 20), unmarried motherhood and abortion. Anne chose to have her baby and raise it on her own. This is still a difficult course of action, but in 1965 it was groundbreaking, especially if you were - as she is - middle class.

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Did You Know?


The United States Production Code, which was only very slowly being eroded during the period when this movie was being made, stipulated that "the subject of abortion shall be discouraged, shall never be more than suggested, and when referred to, shall be condemned. It must never be treated lightly, or made the subject of comedy. Abortion shall never be shown explicitly or by inference, and a story must not indicate that an abortion has been performed, the word 'abortion' shall not be used." Ann Lake speaks quite forthrightly and neutrally with Superintendent Newhouse about the fact that she had considered having an abortion, though she did ultimately choose to give birth to her daughter, Bunny. Contrary to the restrictions of the production code, Ann even uses the word "abortion" during that conversation. A 2015 New York Times article about this movie by critic J. Hoberman said that this movie was likely "the first studio release to employ the forbidden word 'abortion.'"


Steven: She may be a few minutes late. Will you please wait for her?
Mover: Yes sir.
Mover: Thank you.


In one scene the character Steven Lake walks across a room and then walks back. In this very short time he has had a very nice haircut.

Crazy Credits

The end credits begin with a cutout of Bunny's doll, before a hand replaces the cutout with black paper, and the credits begin to roll.


Remember You
Written by
Chris White
Performed by The Zombies
Played on the television in the pub


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Drama | Mystery | Thriller

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