MIRAGE by EDWARD DMYTRYK (Madman DVD)

 |   |  1 min read

MIRAGE by  EDWARD DMYTRYK (Madman DVD)
In his subject-shifting epic Brownsville Girl of 1986, Bob Dylan sang, “I'm standin' in line in the rain to see a movie starring Gregory Peck, Yeah, but you know it's not the one that I had in mind.
He's got a new one out now, I don't even know what it's about. But I'll see him in anything so I'll stand in line”.

The one he had mind, mentioned at the start of the song, was the classic Western The Gunfighter from ’50.

Like Dylan, many movie aficionados would stand in line to see Peck.

His filmography included such cornerstones as Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn (still fun and frivolous), To Kill A Mockingbird, The Guns of Navarone, Hitchcock’s spooky Spellbound, The Bravados, On the Beach and many more.

When Peck died in 2003 he was widely mourned and many of those films mentioned were referenced in his obituaries.

If Mirage from ’65 wasn’t it’s perhaps because in this Hitchcock-like thriller Peck sometimes seems as confused as his character – and certainly the viewer – as he battles with what is real and what he has imagened.

Or forgotten.

Mirage1965It has sometimes been referred to in the same breath as the excellent Charade (from ’63, with Cary Grant and Hepburn) but – despite the same screenwriter Peter Stone being on hand and two actors (Walter Matthau and George Kennedy) appearing in both, Mirage it isn’t in the same league.

Peck plays an accountant for a Big Corporation who can’t remember who he is, how he got the job and even who the woman (Diana Baker) is, although she clearly knows something about him.

Although the cinematography and storyline involving stairs to nowhere, amnesia, emotional trauma and a goofing Matthau as the hapless private detective are all fine, the narrative falters because it tries to say too much about corporate corruption while also keeping the viewer and Peck’s character in a state of confusion.

By the end of the 100 minutes you’ll be no wiser as to whether this was -- as the original posters suggested -- shot as a film-noir by director Dmytryk (who knows the genre, he did Crossfire in ’47 and the nasty Sniper in ’52), a take on the Charade shell-game or just a psychological thriller which tried to say too much about our perceptions of reality and memory.

It is watchable of course – it has Peck and we’d stand in line – but even the attraction of soundtrack music by Quincy Jones (who did so much better with In the Heat of the Night and In Cold Blood two years later) can’t really rescue it.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Film articles index

THE BLUE AND THE GRAY, a tele-series by ANDREW V McLAGLEN (Madman DVD)

THE BLUE AND THE GRAY, a tele-series by ANDREW V McLAGLEN (Madman DVD)

As much reminder of how a television mini-series and historical drama used to look in the Eighties, this six hour epic across three discs is certainly ambitious in attempting to present the... > Read more

PUNK REVOLUTION NYC, a doco by TOM O'DELL (Chrome Dreams DVD)

PUNK REVOLUTION NYC, a doco by TOM O'DELL (Chrome Dreams DVD)

Because so many who were there at the time are fading or have passed on (just one remaining Ramone from that classic album cover), this deeply detailed double DVD/three and a half hour doco on the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

1968: THE YEAR THAT ROCKED THE WORLD by MARK KURLANSKY reviewed (2004)

1968: THE YEAR THAT ROCKED THE WORLD by MARK KURLANSKY reviewed (2004)

With this 2004 year about half gone we appear to be in a volatile time. Some days you just don't want to get out of bed. In politically precarious North Asia both South Korea and Taiwan are... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . SKIP SPENCE: Oar in dark water

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . SKIP SPENCE: Oar in dark water

Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd and Roky Erickson of Thirteenth Floor Elevators don't own the category of "mad Sixties acid casualty" exclusively. Alexander Spence -- aka Skip Spence... > Read more