Jack Smight directed Rod Steiger in this film and in the incredibly dark The Illustrated Man, a movie that he bought the rights to film from Ray Bradbury. He’d also direct Airport 1975 and Damnation Alley.
George Segal, who is the hero of this film, told the Chicago Tribune, “It’s Steiger’s film. He runs around doing all sorts of different roles and I just stop by and watch him.”
He isn’t wrong.
Christopher Gill (Steiger) is obsessed with his late mother, a theater actress whose shadow still weighs on him long after her death. He hates her so much that he keeps killing versions of her again and again, using acting to win over the elder ladies before snuffing their lives out and leaving lipstick all over their faces.
Detective Morris Brummell (Segal) is the cop trying to find the killer, but he’s beaten up by his mother constantly and falling for Lee Remick. Who can blame him?
This was originally a William Goldman novel. Plenty of films have been, including Magic, The Princess Bride and Heat. He also wrote the screenplays for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Stepford Wives, Misery, Dreamcatcher and The General’s Daughter.
This movie was playing in Vallejo, California in April 1969. That’s when the Zodiac Killer was murdering his initial victims. It’s believed that the Zodiac loved movies and that he may have been influenced by the way that the killer in this movie taunted the cops.
This is one of Becca’s favorite movies, which is another of the many, many reasons why I love her so much.