A Sidney Sheldon novel written fourteen years before this was filmed, this also gave Roger Moore the opportunity to get ahead of typecasting, seeing as how 1985’s A View to a Kill would be his last time as James Bond.
Instead of a suave British spy or thief, he played a Chicago psychoanalyst named Dr. Judd Stevens. One of his patients is murdered — while wearing the doctor’s overcoat no less — which brings Lieutenant McGreavy (Rod Steiger) and Detective Angeli (Elliott Gould) on the case. There’s already some bad blood, as McGreavy blames Stevens and his past testimony for a cop killer being institutionalized rather than being sent to prison.
But after Stevens’ secretary is killed and McGreavy gets so intense he gets thrown off the force, well, we have a movie.
Written and directed by Bryan Forbes (The Stepford Wives), this film places Moore into the middle of a murder mystery which is very outside his usual unrumpled all things handled way of acting. He even tries to get help from an old detective, Morgens (Art Carney), who saves him from a car bomb.
In fact, the movie ends with a series of goons nearly beating him to death. He’s saved because the mob boss’s wife that he’s been helping with therapy — Ann Blake (Anne Archer) — called the police herself. And notihng she ever told Stevens had anything to do with the family business. All that death — and more coming soon — for nothing.
This movie was made because Cannon saw that they’d get some cachet by working with Moore — and his Bond fame was still box office — so he was able to get this movie made and hire two of his friends, Forbes and actor David Hedison. Despite the fact that it was running on schedule and under budget, Cannon slashed several weeks from filming and took away a hefty chunk of the budget, which may have gone toward paying back some recent losses at the box office. Golan and Globus also were enraged that Forbes gave Moore a week off to visit his family after the death of his mother.
You can learn more about this movie — and how funny the twist ending is — by reading Austin Trunick’s The Cannon Film Guide Volume 1: 1980-1984.