×

Mirage

Alfred Hitchcock deserves better than the atrocious homage he gets in Paul Williams' "Mirage," an incoherent thriller that can't decide whether to slavishly copy Hitchcock's "Vertigo" or make a satire out of it. Preposterous plotting and radical changes in tone dictate the fate of this routine B picture as straight-to-video.

With:
Matteo Juarez - Edward James Olmos Lt. Richie Randazzo - James Andronica Donald Gale - P.W. Williams Jennifer Gale - Sean Young

Alfred Hitchcock deserves better than the atrocious homage he gets in Paul Williams’ “Mirage,” an incoherent thriller that can’t decide whether to slavishly copy Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” or make a satire out of it. Preposterous plotting and radical changes in tone dictate the fate of this routine B picture as straight-to-video. Closing-night selection of the Palm Springs Film Festival was greeted with laughter and sneers by a bewildered audience.

The writer/director team of James Andronica and Williams, whose previous joint effort, “The November Men,” was seen by few people last year, lacks the savvy and technical skill of Brian De Palma, a filmmaker who has virtually made a career out of tributes to the Master of Suspense but also knows how to add a fresh angle, humor and irony to his homages.

In Andronica’s tale, Edward James Olmos is cast (in the Jimmy Stewart role) as Matteo Juarez, a down-and-out ex-cop in the Palm Springs area who cannot get over inadvertently causing the death of an innocent female hostage while trying to shoot her captor.

Just as he’s sinking deeper and deeper into melancholy, Matteo is hired by Donald Gale (played by the director), a rich industrialist/environmentalist intent on saving the Salton Sea, to protect Jennifer (Sean Young), his young, beautiful but mysterious wife, who seems to lead a double life.

Following Jennifer, Matteo is surprised to find she’s a stripper in a sleazy bar, concealing her identity under a blond wig — and a new name.

Between twice saving her life — first from a sexual assault, then from a suicide attempt atop a cliff — Matteo falls in love.

Later, when he can’t save Jennifer from a gruesome death in a holdup in her home, Matteo can’t help blaming himself.

Story jumps ahead to a year later, with Matteo even deeper into depression and alcoholism. One day, sitting at a bar, he spots a waitress who looks like Jennifer but claims to be a newly arrived Irish immigrant.

Obsessed and still madly in love with Jennifer, he sets out to reveal the woman’s true identity and in the process finds himself in a web of corrupt schemes and lies.

With the notable exception of Olmos, who manages to keep his face straight, the acting is uniformly bad, particularly that of Young, whose fainting and yelling — and heavy Irish accent — are excruciatingly fake.

Shot entirely in the vicinity of Palm Springs, pic has below-average production values, particularly Stephen Eckelberry’s abrupt editing and David Richard Campbell’s blatant score.

Mirage

Production: A Roadhouse/Tigertail Flicks/Shonderosa production. Produced, directed by Paul Williams. Executive producers, Robert and Barbara Rohdie, Chuck Plotkin, Wendy Brandchaft, Saul Skoler. Screenplay, James Andronica.

Crew: Camera (color)/production design, Susan Emerson; editor, Stephen Eckelberry; music, David Richard Campbell; sound (Dolby), Pat Somerset; associate producer, William Grillo Sr.; casting, Corrine Andronica. Reviewed at Palm Springs Film Festival, Jan. 15, 1995. Running time: 106 min.

With: Matteo Juarez - Edward James Olmos Lt. Richie Randazzo - James Andronica Donald Gale - P.W. Williams Jennifer Gale - Sean Young

More Film

  • Don Edkins, documentary filmmaker

    Documentary Filmmaker Don Edkins on ‘Creating an African Voice’ 

    DURBAN–For the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival, a new strand was created to look at the unique challenges and opportunities facing documentary filmmakers in Africa. The two-day program, Durban Does Docs, offers a series of conversations, seminars and workshops with an intensive focus on the aesthetics, funding, distribution [...]

  • A Faithful Man

    Film Review: 'A Faithful Man'

    French actor Louis Garrel has been married twice, first to Iranian talent Golshifteh Farahani, and now to model-cum-actress Laetitia Casta. He has also directed two features, the first a free-wheeling love-triangle comedy called “Two Friends” in which Garrel plays the cad who comes between his best friend and the object of his obsession (played by [...]

  • LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With

    LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With Documentary About Gay Porn Shops Circus of Books

    Granted, the red carpet at the opening night of Outfest in DTLA may not have been the most star-studded but it was without a doubt the most diverse, inclusive and, yes, fabulous. “I’ve never been here before,” admitted “RuPaul’s Drag Race” vet Trixie Mattel, who stars in the documentary “Moving Parts.” “It’s supposed to be [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Russ Tamblyn's Career Had Legs After Childhood

    With an acting career that spans work for Cecil B. DeMille and Joseph Losey to Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch, Russ Tamblyn’s creativity and longevity is proof that there’s life after child stardom. In Tamblyn’s case, there’s also been a bounty of juicy film and TV roles long after his legendary legs no longer kicked [...]

  • Olivia Wilde Booksmart Director

    Film News Roundup: Olivia Wilde to Direct Holiday Comedy for Universal

    In today’s film news roundup, Olivia Wilde has landed another directing gig following “Booksmart” and revenge thriller “Seaside” and “Woodstock: The Directors Cut” get August release dates. PROJECT LAUNCH Olivia Wilde will direct and produce an untitled holiday comedy project for Universal Pictures with her “Booksmart” partner Katie Silberman. Universal outbid five other studios for [...]

  • Choas Charles Mansion and the CIA

    Amazon Studios Takes Film Rights to Manson-Centered Drama 'Chaos' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the grisly murders executed by the followers of Charles Manson, Amazon Studios has optioned film rights to a nonfiction title about a journalist who spent decades obsessively following the case. The studio will adapt “Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties,” from [...]

  • Sword of Trust

    Marc Maron on 'Sword of Trust,' Lynn Shelton and Conspiracy Theories

    Marc Maron has interviewed everyone from Bruce Springsteen to President Obama, so he’s probably learned a few things about being a good interview. Of course, as he points out, he generally has over an hour to talk leisurely speak with his guests in his home and draw out stories beyond the public narrative; it’s a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content