TV-intended reworking of "Mirage"...updated with nuclear asides and LSD
Bradford Dillman plays a scientist who wakes up one morning in the middle of a bloody crime scene; having partial amnesia (or "global amnesia", which one character claims to define as elective loss of memory), the scientist finds a private detective in the phone book in the hopes of piecing his life back together. Abhorrent concoction very loosely based on Walter Ericson's book "Fallen Angel" (filmed in 1965 as "Mirage" with Gregory Peck). It was probably too racy for television--what with drugs and hippies added to the mix--that NBC initially refused to air it, which is how this low-budgeter wound up in theaters. Director James Goldstone gets freaky with the hyperkinetic visuals and camera-tricks, while editor Edward A. Biery goes wild with the zig-zag cuts. Unfortunately, their admittedly-colorful gimmicks cannot cover up the weaknesses of this updated plot, and the acting is woefully overripe. Dillman, under pressure to recall the events of the night in question, goes through an Actor's Seminar of tics, stammers, nose-wipes, and crazy half-laughs while spitting out dialogue like, "Dream...a dream...drugs...yeah, drugs...that SOUND...bells...help!" As a villainous fellow scientist with a Cheshire Cat smile, Pat Hingle nearly upstages Dillman in the Grand Thespian department by continually addressing everyone in baby-talk, strutting about like a middle-aged peacock and twisting his mouth around in agony. Hope Lange's scientist/love-interest is given the short shrift, but not before she screams at indifferent-lover Dillman: "What do I have to do, talk Ape Man? Me want You!" This is one frantic "Jigsaw"! *1/2 from ****
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