The film opens with washed-up, alcoholic actress Alex Sternbergen waking up one morning next to a man with a knife in his heart, in an unfamiliar, luxurious loft apartment. Alex can’t remember what happened the night before and when she calls her social-climbing estranged Chicano hairdresser husband Jackie, he advises her to contact the police. But she decides not to because she served a 3-month stretch in prison for an assault with a deadly weapon conviction and fears the cops wouldn’t believe her. In a panic, Alex instead heads for the airport to go to San Francisco, but can’t get a flight because all flights are booked due to the Thanksgiving holiday. The neurotic lush then gets a ride at the airport with divorced redneck, ex-cop Turner Kendall, forced to retire because of a disability, who was seeing off his daughter as she returns home to mom in Bakersfield. The friendly Turner drops Alex off at the crime scene, which she immaculately cleans up. Since Alex can’t lose the persistent Turner, a romance between the two begins. Strangely the dead man’s corpse appears in her shower, but Turner used the shower before and there was no body there. Therefore Turner believes Alex was framed by someone she knows. —Ozu’s World of Movie Reviews
Sidney Lumet (born June 25, 1924) is an American film director, with over 50 films to his name, including 12 Angry Men (1957), Serpico (1973), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976) and The Verdict (1982), all of which, except for Serpico (1973), earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Director.
According to The Encyclopedia of Hollywood, Lumet is one of the most prolific directors of the modern era making more than one movie per year on average since his directorial debut in 1957. He is especially noted for his ability to draw major actors to his projects. “Because of his visual economy, strong direction of actors, vigorous storytelling and use of the camera to accent themes,” states Turner Classic Movies. “Lumet produced a body of work that could only be defined as extraordinary.”
One of his steady themes during his career has been the “fragility of justice and the police and their corruption,” according to Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary of Film. He can deliver… read more
Even a great filmmaker is not infalible, not when he has to work with a poor screenplay. The tone rambles, never decides if it is a comedy, a soap opera or a thriller. Performances by Jane Fonda, Jeff Bridges and the underused Raul Julia do some good to this ridiculous and predictible mess.