Mister Buddwing (1966) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • 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. His time with these women triggers happy and not so happy memories of Grace. Time with one of the women who he knows is not Grace may provide the strongest trigger to remembering who he and Grace are and why he was in Central Park in such a despondent state.

  • Edward Volner (James Garner) has a recurring nightmare that recalls three stages of his marriage. In his dream he is an amnesiac who has several unlikely allies in his search for who he is. Angela Landsbury and Jack Gilford portray unlikely benefactors as well as a group of Washington Square denizens who save him from a beat cop. Katherine Ross, Suzanne Pleshette, and Jeanne Simmons portray his wife during three stages of his marriage. The film depicts social issues of the first half of the 1960's including birth control, abortion, and police corruption. The film is surreal, James Garner claims in his biography that it was the worst film of his career. I believe it is one of his best films, its dark character study is definitely not your typical James Garner movie. Pay close attention to the opening shot and the closing shot especially the final few seconds.

  • A well-dressed man wakes up on a bench in New York's Central Park, with no idea of who he is, or how he got there. All he can find in his pockets are a train schedule, a couple of drug capsules, and a piece of paper with a phone number on it. On his right hand: a ring with a cracked stone; engraved on the inside of the band is the inscription, "From G.V." Armed with these meager clues, the man, adopting the name "Buddwing" (inspired by a passing Budweiser beer truck and a plane flying overhead), sets out to learn his true identity. Along the way, he encounters a variety of people, including three different women who each reminds him in some way of someone named "Grace."

  • An amnesiac wanders the streets of Manhattan, trying to solve the mystery of who he is.


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