Monday, July 26, 2010


(John Huston, 1980)
Here's a lesson for all you auteurists out there - proof that even a Great Director is no match for a Bad Producer of Zale Magder's calibre. Magder's philistine fingerprints are all over this hoary whodunit, a fraudulent condemnation of the psychiatric establishment that takes its audience for a truckload of idiots. Leading with the laughable spectacle of an exploding filing cabinet and closing with the least convincing armchair Freud routine in the canon, the yawning midsection comprises a then-there-were-none shtick whose only unfamiliar element is the startling asininity of Paul Michael Glaser's shrink. Repeatedly leading his fragile charges on pointless wild goose chases, reacting to their spectacular deaths with lackadaisical trips to the rink and tin-eared paeans to professional detachment, this character is so transparent as to absolutely destroy the credibility of both the mystery and the "message" that decorates it. Speaking of tin-eared, Andre Gagnon ain't no Bernard Herrmann, and Kenneth Welsh offers a textbook rendering of the Stupid Detective, waving his accusatory finger around with a random certainty that only underlines the attention deficit of the production as a whole.

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