Christopher Gill (Rod Steiger) is a hammy theatre manager who is also a psychotic killer who uses various disguises – including a priest, a plumber, a gay hairdresser, a police officer and a chef – to trick and strangle his female victims, leaving behind his trademark: a kiss painted in lipstick on the victim’s forehead.
Single and flustered NYPD detective Mo Brummel (George Segal) starts to get phone calls from the strangler commenting on his ineffectual investigations and builds a strange alliance as a result. Meanwhile, Mo’s overbearing live-in mother (Eileen Heckart) wishes her son would be a successful Jewish doctor like his big brother.
Kate Palmer (Lee Remick) is a swinging, hip tour guide who witnesses Gill leaving her dead neighbour’s apartment and sets her sights on detective Brummel.
The Paramount film has trouble deciding if it’s a black comedy or a thriller and flips between humour and some genuinely chilling murder scenes.
Morris “Mo” Brummel