A man wearing an expensive gray suit finds himself in Central Park in New York City not knowing who he is or how he got there. His amnesia even extends to the fact that he doesn't know how he takes his coffee. All he has on his possession are a crumpled piece of paper wrapped around a couple of pills, the paper also with a scribbled telephone number. He is also wearing a ring with a broken stone, the ring engraved from its giver with his or her monogram, G.V. The telephone number takes him to a woman who doesn't know who he is. Based on what she calls him and some item association, he begins to call himself Sam Buddwing if anyone asks him. As he wanders New York City in a daze, he believes he may be an escaped mental patient based on a newspaper story, his clothes and the monogrammed ring. But a vision of a young brunette makes him remember a woman in his life named Grace. He manages to spend time with a few women during the day, many times he believing that woman is Grace herself. ... Written by
In his memoirs "The Garner Files" (2011), James Garner rates this as his worst movie. His comment about it: "I'd summarize the plot, but to this day, I have no clue what it is. Worst picture I ever made. What where they thinking? What was I thinking?" (page 256) See more »
When Buddwing approaches Janet in the city, she sits on a park bench and the boom mic is plainly visible at the bottom of the screen. See more »
Interesting Book, Half-baked film transfer Disastrous failure
The Evan Hunter novel Buddwing is a hauntingly original, if unrealistic story. The author's idea was to take the mid-life identity crisis to the extreme...literal amnesia. Its 1964 release prompted MGM to pick it up for a 1965 film, possibly thinking they'd have another Blackboard Jungle on their hands. Well not quite. Not to say the great talent of the '60s isn't there: Director Delbert Mann (who did Marty and Fitzwilly), Katharine Ross (The Graduate, Butch Cassidy), Angela Landsbury (Manchurian Candidate), Jean Simmons, and James Garner all do their best in one of the less believable of the 7,000,000 tales of NYC. One obvious fault lies in the dialogue (mostly taken directly from the book) as numerous run-ins between Garner (Buddwing) and the other characters result in conversations that simply don't ring true. Another fault is the director seems to intentionally give this the avant-garde treatment, though he's obviously ill-equipped for it. The disjointed confusing scenes would be impossible to follow had one not read the book.
Especially the scenes with Katharine Ross--he thinks she's someone named Grace, they talk (not making any sense) and then it cuts to a flashback where she IS Grace...GOD I feel sorry for someone trying to figure this out who hasn't read the book. And of course the book's sex scenes are not to be found here. Then Ross is gone--poof--maybe she told MGM to shove the script up their as--side their other failures.
The only interesting aspect to the film is that it's set in Manhattan in the '60s, and it was the last "major" film shot in black and white. Finally the film fails because the director and screenwriter Wasserman simply didn't put any real effort into making this a film of substance...it ends up as a bunch of poorly editted "scenes". As another reviewer said this could be a great remake...if they rewrite the whole thing, have good direction, etc. Anyway, read the book and then watch the film for laughs.
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