Honey Pot, The (aka The Honeypot) (1967): Mankiewicz’ Crime Serio-Comedy, Starring Rex Harrison, Susan Hayward, Cliff Robertson

Joseph L. Mankiewicz wrote and directed The Honey Pot (aka The Honeypot), a crime serio-comedy, starring Rex Harrison, Susan Hayward, Cliff Robertson, Capucine, Edie Adams, and Maggie Smith.

The film was based on the play Mr. Fox of Venice by Frederick Knott, the novel The Evil of the Day by Thomas Sterling, and loosely the 1606 Ben Jonson play Volpone.

Robertson plays struggling actor William McFly, hired by wealthy Cecil Fox (Rex Harrison) to play his personal secretary for a practical joke. Pretending to be on his deathbed, Fox invites three former lovers to his Venetian palazzo for final visit: penniless Princess Dominique (Capucine), fading movie star Merle McGill (Edie Adams), and rich Texan Mrs. Lone Star Crockett Sheridan (Susan Hayward). Accompanying Mrs. Sheridan is her nurse, Sarah Watkins (Maggie Smith). By chance, each of the women brings Fox a timepiece as a present.

Sarah asks McFly to write her in the will as heir of Fox’s worthless estate, with Rizzi signing as witness. McFly complies and the amused Rizzi compliments him for “generosity.”

After strange turn of events, Mrs. Sheridan’s estate is so vast that Sarah will still emerge a wealthy woman. She informs McFly that, after their marriage, she will hand over the money once he resumes law studies.