Mirage (1965 film)

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Mirage
Mirage1965.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Produced by Harry Keller
Written by Peter Stone
Howard Fast (book)
Starring Gregory Peck
Diane Baker
Walter Matthau
Music by Quincy Jones
Cinematography Joseph MacDonald
Edited by Ted J. Kent
Production
company
Universal Pictures
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • May 26, 1965 (1965-05-26)
Running time
108 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,500,000[1]

Mirage is a 1965 thriller directed by Edward Dmytryk[2] from a screenplay by Peter Stone, based on the 1952 novel Fallen Angel, written by Howard Fast under the pseudonym Walter Ericson; the novel is not credited by title onscreen.[3] The film stars Gregory Peck, Diane Baker, Walter Matthau, George Kennedy and Kevin McCarthy, and was released by Universal Pictures.[4]

Plot

When the electricity cuts out in the New York City skyscraper where he works, cost accountant David Stillwell (Gregory Peck) decides to leave by the darkened stairs rather than wait for power. A young woman (Diane Baker) on the stairs, Shela, greets him as a friend, but he does not know her. Alarmed, she flees into a sub-basement.

On the street is the body of peace activist Charles Calvin (Walter Abel), who apparently jumped from his office. Stillwell returns to the stairwell, but there is no sub-basement. A man in the basement, Willard (George Kennedy), tells him to leave.

At Stillwell's apartment building, a stranger, Lester (Jack Weston), pulls a gun on him. He orders Stillwell to go meet "the Major" and to take his briefcase. Stillwell manages to knock out the gunman.

Reporting this to the police, Stillwell is distressed by basic questions about his background, and storms out. He suddenly realizes he has no memory of anything before the two years of his present job. He finds a psychiatrist, Dr. Broden (Robert H. Harris), who throws him out, saying that it is impossible to have amnesia for two years without being aware of it.

Stillwell finds a private detective, Ted Caselle (Walter Matthau), who admits that this is his first case. Skeptical at first, Caselle becomes convinced his client is not crazy when he spots Willard following them. Stillwell tries to show Caselle his office, close to Calvin's, but there is only a blank wall. They go to the basement; Willard arrives and shoots at them, but they escape.

Stillwell then encounters Shela. She tells him he has something the Major wants very badly; she also claims they were previously in a relationship. She reluctantly accompanies him to see Joe Turtle, the concierge at Stillwell's workplace, but Turtle has been murdered. Stillwell forces Shela to see what her associates are capable of, then they spend the night together.

Stillwell wakes to find Shela gone and Lester and Willard downstairs. He disarms Lester and tries to use him as a shield, but Willard just kills Lester. Stillwell escapes once again, but then finds Caselle murdered.

Stillwell has started having flashbacks. He revisits Dr. Broden: he now believes his amnesia is only two days old. Broden helps him recall more. Stillwell realizes he has been recalling false memories; Broden explains that his mind was trying to replace memories too painful to remember. Stillwell is not an accountant, but rather a "physio-chemist", and a protege of Calvin's. Although he formerly lived in New York and owns an apartment there, for two years he has been working (in a sub-basement) under Josephson (Kevin McCarthy) in California, doing some kind of secret research.

Stillwell goes to see Calvin's widow. She thinks he killed Calvin, and Stillwell remembers seeing him fall. He spots a photograph of Calvin with a major, whom she names. He goes to see the Major, and finds there Willard, Josephson, and Shela, the Major's girlfriend.

Stillwell's memory now returns completely. He had discovered a way to "neutralize nuclear radiation"; though ostensibly for peaceful purposes, this discovery would also make the use of nuclear weapons more attractive. He went to New York to consult Calvin and found he was in business with the Major. The Major turned off the power to keep Stillwell in the building. Stillwell burned the paper describing his invention; Calvin grabbed for it and fell out the window, causing Stillwell's amnesia.

The Major has Willard play Russian roulette with his gun pointed at Stillwell's head, but Stillwell refuses to recreate his research. Shela shoots Willard. Josephson takes her gun, but when Stillwell points out that the Major will not let Josephson live (as he knows too much about the secret project) Josephson calls the police. Stillwell and Shela embrace.

Cast

Production

The Hitchcockian screenplay was written by Peter Stone as a follow-up to the hugely successful Charade.[5] Matthau and Kennedy were holdovers from the cast of Charade.[6]

Filming took place on a number of locations in the New York Financial District.[7] The fictitious Unidyne company was headquartered at 2 Broadway. Another key location in the film is the walk with Peck and Baker through Battery Park to City Pier A.

The movie was filmed in the short time between 24 October 1964 and 24 December 1964 on Eastman Kodak black and white film 4-X 5224 [8] and first released in the USA on 26 May 1965.

Critical reception

The New York Times wrote, "In brisk, colloquial, occasionally humorous style, this exercise in mayhem, murder, mental instability and moralizing about the scientist's place in an atomic world, evolves as an interesting, fairly taut, if not espesially credible, chase-mystery";[9] whereas Variety noted, "There are moments of stiff action and suspense but plot is as confusing as it is overly-contrived."[10] However, more recently, Time Out called it "one of the better thrillers of the '60s," concluding that "The harsh b/w photography, the various levels of reality, and the use of urban landscape, all contribute to the feeling of unease, building up an atmosphere that is perhaps better than the mechanics of the plot deserve."[11]

Musical score and soundtrack

Mirage
Mirage (soundtrack album).jpg
Soundtrack album by Quincy Jones
Released 1965
Recorded 1965
Genre Film score
Length 34:05
Label Mercury
MG 21025/SR 61025
Quincy Jones chronology
Quincy Plays for Pussycats
(1965)
Mirage
(1965)
The Slender Thread
(1966)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[12]

The film score was composed, arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones, and the soundtrack album was released on the Mercury label in 1965.[13][14]

Track listing

All compositions by Quincy Jones

  1. "Mirage (Vocal Version)" (Lyrics by Robert Russell) - 2:18
  2. "Boobie Baby" − 3:20
  3. "Shoot to Kill" − 2:28
  4. "Dead Duck" − 3:12
  5. "Purple Rose" − 3:06
  6. "Main Title" − 2:50
  7. "Mirage (Instrumental Version)" − 3:34
  8. "Turtle`s Last Lap" − 3:34
  9. "A Shot in the Park" − 4:03
  10. "Kinda Scary" − 4:33
  11. "End Title" − 2:51

Personnel

See also

References

  1. ^ Anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Top Grossers of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 36
  2. ^ "Mirage". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  3. ^ "Mirage (1965) - Screenplay Info - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
  4. ^ "Mirage (1965)".
  5. ^ "Peter Stone - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  6. ^ "Charade (1963) - Stanley Donen - Cast and Crew - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  7. ^ "Mirage (1965) - Notes - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
  8. ^ IMDb Technical Specifications
  9. ^ "MOVIE REVIEW Peter Stone Thriller Is Introduced Here - NYTimes.com". movies.nytimes.com.
  10. ^ Staff, Variety (1 January 1965). "Mirage".
  11. ^ "Mirage".
  12. ^ Mirage (Original Motion Picture Score) – Review at AllMusic. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  13. ^ Soundtrack Collector: album entry accessed January 17, 2018
  14. ^ Mercury 20000 Series B (61000-61099) discography, accessed January 17, 2018

External links

  • Mirage on IMDb
  • Mirage at Film Noir of the Week by Wheeler Winston Dixon
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