Katie McGovern is a struggling actress living with her lazy husband and her student brother. She attends an audition that she found in the paper and is selected to shoot a short video which will be sent to the director for his approval. Mr. Murray, the auditioner, picks Katie up and takes her to a remote mansion where they shoot the video. Katie is selected to replace the previous lead in the film who looks remarkably like her. Soon, however, things begin to look as if they are not what they seem. Katie soon realizes she is in danger and attempts escape. —IMDb
Once the vanguard of 1960s-1970s Hollywood New Wave, director Arthur Penn saw his cinematic fortunes decline with the mid-‘70s rise of more straightforward blockbuster entertainment. Even as he struggled through the ’80s and ’90s, however, Penn’s legacy was assured by such films as Little Big Man (1970), Night Moves (1975), and the pivotal masterwork Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
Born in Philadelphia, Penn was trained to follow in his father’s footsteps as a watchmaker, but by high school, he knew he preferred theater. While stationed at Fort Jackson, SC, during World War II, Penn formed a small drama circle with his fellow infantrymen, and continued his education as an actor at school in North Carolina and Italy after the war. Though Penn acted in Joshua Logan’s theater company and studied with Michael Chekhov at the Actors Studio’s Los Angeles branch, he opted for a career behind the scenes when he got a job at NBC TV in 1951. By 1953, Penn was writing and… read more
Other than the opening sequence, which I find compelling for some reason, the film is one big checklist of "genre conventions I've already seen." Never been much of a fan of Mary Steenburgen either, whose turn here in three separate roles doesn't change my mind. (Compare to Susan Hampshire's triple role in *Malpertuis*, e.g., where you can watch the film and actually not realize it's Hampshire in more than one role.)