Sunday, July 24, 2011

Red Buttons, Sylvia Miles & Sam Waterston in Who Killed Mary What's'er Name? (1971)

Obscurity factor: 10

This forgotten little film has some great talent in it. On his release from the hospital after going into insulin shock, Mickey (Red Buttons) goes straight to the scene of a crime no one else cares about - the murder of a hooker in lower Manhattan. As he tries to find out what happened he enlists the aid of an out of work insurance investigator (Conrad Bain), an avant gard film maker (Waterston) and his daughter, played with great aplomb by Alice Playton. He's not exactly welcome in the ghetto but the former boxing champ isn't discouraged easily. Along the way he meets Christina (Miles), another hooker, Boulting (David Doyle) a stock broker and Larry (Ron Carey) a bartender. But who is the culprit?
Though this film drags a little around the middle, it's great to see these performers early on in their careers. It's moody, dark and cornerish and shows a seedy side of the city that's virtually non-existant now.

It's not available on YouTube, it doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry. Above is the radio spot for it, along with some stills, uploaded by DIODT2008. It can be watched in its entirety on YouTube but the uploader has disabled embedding. Click the link for part 1:

Obscurity factor: 10 (virtually unknown today, not on DVD, can be watched on YouTube)

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