James Garner wakes up on a bench in New York’s Central Park not knowing who he is or how he got there. His amnesia even extends to the fact that he doesn’t know how he takes his coffee.
All he has in his possession are a Metro-North train schedule and a crumpled piece of paper with a scribbled telephone number wrapped around a couple of pills. He is wearing an expensive grey suit and a ring with a broken stone engraved with the monogram, G.V.
The telephone number takes him to a woman who doesn’t know who he is, but he adopts the name Sam Buddwing (from a Budweiser beer truck and the wing of an aeroplane).
As he wanders New York City in a daze, he begins to believe he may be an escaped mental patient, but a vision of a young brunette makes him remember a woman in his life named Grace.
Garner encounters three different women – a college student (Katharine Ross), an actress (Suzanne Pleshette) and a drunken blonde (Jean Simmons) – who each prompt a flashback in Garner’s confused mind reminding him in some way of the elusive Grace.
The annoying plot never really comes together, but the autumnal New York City locations are beautifully photographed in crystalline black and white by the great Ellsworth Fredericks.
Raymond St. Jacques