Stephen Sondheim's The Last of Sheila (1973)
Stephen Sondheim's The Last of Sheila (1973); Courtesy AFI Silver

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The Last of Sheila at AFI Silver

When Stephen Sondheim passed away in November, most people realized the world had lost a giant of musical theater. But true Sondheimites also realized that we lost a potentially great murder mystery writer, as shown in Sondheim screenplay The Last of Sheila. Now, as part of their Stephen Sondheim Remembered programming, AFI Silver will screen the 1973 cult classic murder mystery on Jan. 29. Co-written with Anthony Perkins (yes, that Anthony Perkins of Psycho fame), the screenplay was the first either had written and was borne from murder mystery parties they would host. The movie begins with Sheila Greene, a Hollywood gossip columnist, being killed in a hit and run. A year later, her husband, a Hollywood producer played by James Coburn, invites a group of friends for a weeklong cruise in the Mediterranean, certain that one of them is responsible for Sheila’s death and determined to reveal the killer. As with any great murder mystery, members of the ensemble (which includes Raquel Welch, Dyan Cannon, and James Mason) start dropping pretty quickly. In 2012, New Line announced a remake of The Last of Sheila, but that remake has never seen the light of day. In the meantime, Sondheimites and newbies can enjoy this cult classic at AFI Silver. The Last of Sheila screens at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 29 at AFI Silver, 8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. $8-$13.