March 6, 1992 – The Live Action Feature Film Blame it on the Bellboy is Released to Theaters
“They don’t ask questions in my job.” “Well, I think it’s time you started!”
On March 6, 1992, the live-action feature film Blame it on the Bellboy was released to theaters. The film was released through Hollywood Pictures, and distributed by Buena Vista Pictures. It was critically panned on release, and was a box office flop. It was written and directed by Mark Herman, and starred Dudley Moore as Melvyn Orton, Bryan Brown as Mike Lorton, Richard Griffiths as Maurice Horton, Patsy Kensit as Caroline Wright, Penelope Wilton as Patricia Fulford, and Bronson Pinchot as the Bellboy.
Set in Venice, the film begins in a back alley under the canals, where a man is strung up and is getting beaten for information by mobsters. The mobsters then leave the man behind when they realize he doesn’t know anything other than the person who will be coming to kill the mob boss will be coming from London. Soon after, a British Airways flight soon takes off, heading to Venice with three different men on board: with one man being a very nervous flier looking to buy property named Melvyn Orton, one large man looking for a date named Maurice Horton, and a hit man looking for his next job named Mike Lorton. All three are staying at the Hotel Gabrielli, home to a very incompetent bellboy. The three men share similar last names, and as the bellboy’s grasp of English is shaky, he ends up sending the messages each needs to receive to the wrong person: Lorton receives a love letter, Orton receives the hit man’s instructions, and Horton receives the invite to meet the development property manager.
The next day, the three men head to what they believe to be their respective meetings. Horton meets Caroline Wright, who manages a property that she’s trying to sell by Wednesday. He can’t believe his good fortune, as he believes her to be the date he was set up with through an online dating service. Orton is believed to be the hit man, and is held at gunpoint by the members of the mob boss. Lorton, who believes Horton’s original date is actually his mark, attempts to shoot her, but finds he is unable to. Orton is threatened by the mob boss, who demands to know who sent him. Horton finds himself increasingly uncomfortable, Caroline is hitting on him. Lorton continues to follow his “mark,” but she believes him to be her date, and introduces himself as Patricia Fulford. Lorton and Patricia head for a stroll, and he once again attempts to take her out. The mobsters have Orton call his boss to prove that he’s who he says he is, and start to give him advice on how to stand up for himself. As he is close to getting dangerously hurt, Orton blurts out that there’s a man at the hotel with a similar last name – Horton – who must be the assassin they’re looking for.
The police fish a man out of the water, who is revealed to be the man the mobsters had killed earlier. Horton and Christine pass by in a gondola, and after he tries to make a move, she gets angry and asks to be let off on the sidewalk. Orton is taken by the mobsters to his hotel, but he manages to accidentally knock a mobster into the canal and make a break for it. Christine finally realizes what Horton’s intentions actually are, and she almost walks away, until a speedboat – the one thing she’s always wanted – passes by. Realizing her commission would pay for the boat of her dreams, she hesitates. Patricia walks with Lorton, although not willingly, as he holds her hostage. She explains the dating situation and, although he understands, will not let her go until he is able to actually make his hit. Caroline is taken back to Horton’s room, although both are unaware that Horton’s wife is there to make a surprise visit. After meeting Lorton and Orton, she is finally taken to see her husband. Horton’s wife is sure is that he’s having an affair, and Caroline, who feels cheated by the situation, decides to play the situation to her advantage, and forces him to buy the villa.
Patricia questions Lorton about his job and why he would want to kill her, while the mobsters, who now think Horton is their hitman, make Orton an offer he can’t refuse: if he wants to live, he will have to kill Horton. Lorton and Patricia think that Horton was the one that got Lorton’s instructions, while Orton is told to kill Horton with a bomb. Patricia helps Lorton break into Horton’s room to get the instructions, and find the invitation from Caroline; Lorton once again assumes that the target was a woman. Patricia and Lorton share a moment on the balcony of his hotel room, and he admits all of his feelings of loneliness, and his true dream of owning a flower shop. Patricia convinces him to get his money from the hit back from Horton so he can pursue his dream. The next morning, Horton waits for the money he owes Caroline, Lorton and Patricia watch Horton to get the money, and Orton waits with the mob to blow up Horton. When Horton has the briefcase, he decides to put the money in the hotel safe. Orton is given an identical briefcase to give the bellboy, as the mob switches the tags and steals the money after creating a distraction. Patricia and Lorton seem to be growing closer, as she tries to cure his loneliness with understanding. Horton gets a call from Caroline to take the money to the villa, and takes the briefcase he placed in the hotel safe.
The mob forces Orton to blow up Horton, but every time he presses the button, nothing happens, so they send Horton in a small rowboat to blow him up. Horton and Lorton scuffle over the money, and as Orton presses the button again, the briefcase continues to not detonate. However, the mobsters realize that the tags were switched twice, and the briefcase finally detonates – the briefcase on the mobster’s boat. Patricia takes Lorton’s gun to threaten Horton, but Lorton finally realizes there’s been a misunderstanding, and quickly takes the gun and Patricia away back to the hotel, where Lorton packs quickly, thinking he needs to run away as fast as he can. Lorton receives a note saying that he’s not only accomplished the mission, but killed three at the same time, and is given a generous bonus. Orton heads back to the hotel, and finds that Mr. Marshall called. He manages to make the situation better, as he convinces Marshall to buy the now-vacant property once owned by the mob boss, allowing him to keep his job. However, Orton takes the money from Marshall and decides to move to the Bahamas instead. Lorton and Patricia head back together, and he proposes to her on the way home. She accepts. Horton finally realizes he’s bought a dump of a property. And Caroline’s dream of owning a speedboat is not as wonderful as she hoped.