Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


JIGSAW (1968). Director: James Goldstone.

Only three years after the film Mirage came out, a remake was made for television. Like Mirage, Jigsaw was based on Howard Fast's novel "Fallen Angel" as well as Peter Stone's screenplay for Mirage. However, screenwriter Ranald MacDougall [Queen Bee] fashioned a story that contained some elements from the earlier book and movie but was basically an entirely different story. NBC found the telefilm too violent -- or mediocre -- and decided not to run it, so Universal studios released it in theaters. Although the stars were Bradford Dillman and Harry Guardino, they were basically ignored [and they both gave excellent performances, too] in the advertising in favor of freakish Michael J, Pollard, who had only a bit part really [and two short scenes] but had been nominated for an Academy Award for his turn in Bonnie and Clyde. Such is show business! The poster also made it seem as if the movie were some sort of expose of the sixties Timothy Leary-type drug scene a la The Trip, which it definitely was not.

In Jigsaw Jonathan Fields (Dillman) temporarily loses his memory after ingesting sugar cubes laced with acid [LSD]. He remembers seeing the dead body of a woman in the bathtub of somebody's apartment, and this body later turns up in his own place. He goes to private investigator Arthur Belding (Guardino), who has his girlfriend Sarah (Diana Hyland) aid them in their investigation. Fields also has a girlfriend of sorts played by Hope Lange. The private detective is really the lead character in this and there's no death plunge until the very end. Unlike Mirage, Jigsaw gives away its secrets much too early and has a much more conventional murder/cover-up plot despite the psychedelic facade. The acting is fine, however, both by the aforementioned actors as well as by Pat Hingle as an associate of Fields' and Victor Jory [The Shadow serial] as his boss. 

Verdict: Not bad, holds the attention, but nothing special either despite solid performances. **1/2.

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