CURTIS HARRINGTON WEEK: Games (1967)

Paul Montgomery and his wife Jennifer (James Caan and Katharine Ross) are wealthy New Yorkers who amuse themselves by holding parties in their townhouse and playing sadistic games on their friends.

Then they meet Lisa Schindler, an older cosmetics saleswoman played by Simone Signoret. She faints as soon as she enters their home and spends the night. The woman may be psychic and definitely fits into the gameplaying nature of the couple, as she sets up some simulated situations for them to argue about, like a grocery deliveryman (Don Stroud) potentially having an affair with Jennifer, just to see how they’ll react.

When the deliveryman comes back the next day, Paul threatens him with a gun after he sees the man make a pass at his wife. But it’s all a joke on his part, as the gun fires blanks, until the second shot murders him and they have to hide his body. But when do the pranks stop? When they encase the man in plaster? Or when his ghost keeps walking through the house?

While the part of Lisa was originally intended for Marlene Dietrich, Simone Signoret makes sense, as the film she may be most famous for, Diabolique, has a similar tone. It’s interesting that in 1967, as everyone was moving to the New Hollywood, Harrington had an eye to the glory days of the past.

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