Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan



Mirage (1965) About a year before this Charade was a huge hit. It was smart and funny and suspenseful, and the writer wanted to do another one like it. So he hit upon the tired old amnesia schtick, and came up with this. It’s well-made, it looks great with noirish B&W photography and disorienting editing, but the plot doesn’t really hold water. Pop psychiatry was real big back then … come to think of it, Gregory Peck made another movie back in the forties with Alfred Hitchcock, Spellbound, that also had him amnesic because of psychological trauma. The fact is, that sort of total amnesia from purely mental issues is very rare. Amnesia almost always results from a blow to the head. A bad blow to the head, the sort that will put you in the hospital for days or weeks. Here, the explanation why Peck has lost his memory is pretty weak, I thought. And it’s really not Peck’s sort of role. Compare him and Diane Baker (who is almost forgotten these days, but she was a big star back then) to Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, and it’s really no contest. Walter Matthau is in both this and Charade (and George Kennedy, too) and neither of them are used as well as they were in the first picture. Particularly Matthau. He is by far the best thing in this movie, as a private detective who is just setting up shop—this is his first case!—and injects a lot of wry humor where it is badly needed. And then they kill him off about halfway through! What a waste.