An unidentified city is plagued by a mysterious mugger who attacks women at night, steals their purses, and cuts them on their left cheek. A police shrink, Dr. Pete Graham, is called in ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kent Smith ...
Dr. Pete Graham
...
Claire Townsend
...
Eddie Baxter
...
Fats Donner
...
Sergeant Cassidy
...
John Alexander ...
Chief of Police
Arthur Storch ...
Jack Skippy Randolph
Bert Thorn ...
Franklin Corey
Albert Dannibal ...
Officer Connelly
Connie Van Ess ...
Katherine Elio
Dolores Sutton
Sandra Church ...
Jeannie Page
Joan Morgan
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Storyline

An unidentified city is plagued by a mysterious mugger who attacks women at night, steals their purses, and cuts them on their left cheek. A police shrink, Dr. Pete Graham, is called in when one of the mugger's victims turns up dead. Written by Marty McKee <mmckee@wkio.com>

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Crime | Drama

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November 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mutilador de rostros  »

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Film debut of Renée Taylor. See more »

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Poor Ed McBain adaptation, wrenched away from his 87th Precinct
4 August 2003 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Police psychiatrist Kent Smith is an easy-going, amiable guy, ready to take time from his pursuit of a sunglassed mugger to act as unofficial therapist to easy-going, amiable hack driver James Franciscus (whose wife's sister, living with them, has become withdrawn and hostile). But the mugger has struck 11 times in eight weeks, grabbing women's purses and leaving a superficial knife scar along their jawlines. With the help of his fiancée, policewoman Nan Martin, Kent follows up a number of leads, all of them dead ends. Then the mugger strikes once more, but this time leaves his victim dead - Franciscus' sister-in-law, whom an autopsy reveals to have been three months pregnant....

Part of the pleasure of Ed McBain's seemingly endless series of police procedurals set in the 87th Precinct is that he takes the bizarre and the pathological and makes them mundane - part of the warp and weft of living in a city. The second of his novels to be filmed, The Mugger leeches much of the familiarity away; it ill-advisedly dispenses with the quirky cops of the 87th to center on Smith, a character so four-square that McBain would never have written him.

And though his books may seem garrulous and absent-minded, underneath the disgressions clockwork plots tick away. But in The Mugger, the red herrings really stink. Few adaptations of McBain's series, for the movies or for television, have been quite successful in fidelity to the author's nameless city and the cops who police it, but The Mugger must count among the weakest of them - an inferior follow-up to the same year's Cop Hater.


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