Imagine if you could remember nothing of your life, and what little you DID remember was found to be lies.
That's what you get in "Mirage," a solid if not brilliant thriller in the vaguely Hitchcockian, post-Charade model. The plot is repetitive at times, but director Edward Dmytryk soaks the entire film in a feeling of claustrophobic creepiness, and Gregory Peck and Walter Matthou give excellent performances.
After a blackout at the building where he works, David Stillwell (Peck) is greeted by a woman he doesn't recognize, goes down to a sub-basement that doesn't exist, his job doesn't exist, and finds that his apartment apparently hasn't been lived in. Oh, the head of his company also plunges to his death that very night. And a mysterious gunman is suddenly trying to kill and/or capture him.
But when David goes to talk to the police and a shrink, he realizes something shocking -- he can't remember anything of his life until two years ago. And after hiring a private eye (Matthau), he discovers that apparently a conspiracy is erasing all signs of his prior existence.... and yes, more hit men have been sent after him, at the command of the mysterious "Major."
"Mirage" is a good film, though not quite good enough to stand among the titans of the suspense movie like "Charade" or "The Man Who Knew Too Much." Edward Dmytryk's talent is in making the entire film feel like a long nightmare, in which everything is dangerous and/or uncertain. And he peels away the layers of conspiracy and delusion with a slow, deft hand, tricking us with misconceptions and half-truths at every turn.
However, it also can be rather repetitive (how many times can Shela appear, say vague sinister stuff, and then vanish?) and has some moments that are just too convenient (a small child randomly appears so Peck and his girlfriend can hide in her apartment).
But if the movie is flawed, Gregory Peck's performance is not. He starts the performance as a nice, slightly confused man, but his performance gradually mutates into a wild-eyed, harrowed man who can't run or hide. You really feel sorry for him, especially when it starts making him look a little insane -- and even frames him for homicide.
Diane Baker's role is basically that of a designated love interest, but Walter Matthau is delightful as a quirky, oddball detective who defies all tropes. I was actually rather sad when Matthau exited the film, because he was so much fun. He deserved his own movie.
"Mirage" has some deep flaws that keep it from being as great as it could be, but it's buoyed by a sense of chaotic fear and a solid performance by Peck.
on August 21, 2011
I saw "Mirage" years ago on TV but never saw it again on TV. Movie was made in 1965. I kept looking for it on DVD for many years so got it when it came out on DVD. Its a great movie starring one of my favourite movie stars Gregory Peck. His acting is always wonderful and he is good in this movie. The movie is a mystery type story and involves events which happen to Gregory in the movie, but he gets amnesia and can only remember certain things but can't remember everything he needs to remember till later in the movie. The story will keep you interested from start to finish. Also in the movie are Walter Mathau playing a Private detective and Diane Baker. I highly recommend it. English Subtitles.
on January 4, 2014
...The feeling of already having done or seen something before...Gregory Peck is faced with this as he tries to piece together his true position in a complex and tangled plot of intrigue and danger. Fine performances by Peck and the supporting cast, with Walter Matthau in a standout turn as a rookie P.I. and a young George Kennedy as the hired gun. Recommended viewing for Gregory Peck fans and those seeking to cure their fear of heights...
on June 12, 2003
Mirage is not Gregory Peck's best film, but it is well done and suspenseful, well-set and well cast. The plot gets a bit strained here and there because of weak cameo performances by Matthau as Ted Casselle and by the actor who plays "The Major" but as usual, Peck's performance is strong enough to sustain the dramatic line when it falters. I enjoy it every time I see it and recommend it.