Walking down twenty-seven flights of stairs after the power goes out in the New York City office building he is in, David Stillwell emerges outside on the ground level to find that a man he didn't know either jumped or was pushed out a window to his death. That man was Charles Calvin, the head of Unidyne, a humanitarian organization that works toward world peace. David notices other unusual goings-on. What he considers his normal routine that others he knows should recognize, don't. People that he doesn't know seem to know him, such as the beautiful young woman with who he walked down the stairs but who ran off when they got to the bottom. And things that he thought he saw or thought he knew end up not being the case, such as the multiple sub-basement levels he thought were in that office building which don't seem to exist in the clear light of day. When he finally thinks about it, he believes he has some form of amnesia. As an example, he knows that he works as a cost accountant, but...Written by
The line spoken by Lester (Jack Weston), "you can't be alive in Barbados and dead in New York at the same time", is paraphrased from a line in the Pat Novak For Hire radio program titled "Rubin Callaway's Pictures", with Detroit in Pat Novak changed to Barbados in this movie. See more »
When David Stillwell is in the police office reporting that a man threatened him with a gun, when the officer is filling out the form, he asks for Stillwell's date-of-birth. For this procedure the police would not have asked the victim of a crime for his date-of-birth. See more »
One of the best conspiracy political thrillers of the sixties.
Sharing not a passing resemblance to The Manchurian Candidate from three years before, this is a sadly neglected thriller that would have been a classic if the director's credit read Hitchcock instead of someone HUAC blacklisted at the time. It couldn't have been any better too, with Hitch involved. There's really nothing the movie sets out to do that it doesn't do pretty damn well. The fights are clumsy and 15 years too old-fashioned, like something taken from a film-noir and edited in the same awkward fashion, but other than that the movie is a rousing success. Dmytryk's career took a massive blow after the fifties and his decision to finally cooperate in order to be released from prison earned him the contempt of subsequent Hollywood people, but a good ten years later, the director of still had it in him to deliver a stonecold classic with Murder My Sweet.
Gregory Peck is David Stillwell, an accountant working for a NYC firm who realizes he can't remember anything from his life the past two years. The movie opens in a blacked-out skyscraper where he meets with a mysterious young woman who seems to know him. She then disappears in the subbasements of the building. When he searches for these basements the next morning, they're not there. That's just a taste of the hallucinatory mindgames the film has in order for the viewer.
Wisely photographed in clear black and white, with an intriguing premise and plot that will have fans of conspiracy thrillers salivating at the prospect of paranoid twists and turns, this is a minor gem that deserves to be rediscovered from the cracks it slipped through. There is a plot hole regarding these basements and where they really are after all but if we accept the psychological explanation of Peck's condition (it's only a movie after all), it's a smooth ride. The multiple flashbacks of the ending and the way Dmytryk handles them is something to see.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this