John Grissmer, Joseph Weintraub for PJ Productions
directed by John Grissmer
starring Robert Lansing, Judith Chapman, Arlen Dean Snyder, David Scarroll, Sandy Martin, Bruce Atkins, Muriel Moore, Clara Dunn, Stan Wojno, Laura Whyte, Larry Quackenbush, Greg Oliver, Mimi Honce, Ellen Heard, Tad Currie, Warde Q. Butler, George Macrenaris, Lynda Simon, Debbie Ness, Michael Fedack, Tom Pietschner, Lydia M. Woodhead, Kenneth J. Hodge, Valerie L. Strange, Richard H. Brannan, Kermit Echols, John Barbe, Thomas J. Howard jr, James W. Hudson, Wesley John Jackson, John Thomas Kelly, Ralph E. Mays, Walter R. Mays, Allen Murphy, Julius Wimby
story by Joseph Weintraub, screenplay by John Grissmer, music by Bob Cobert
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It comes to no surprise to accomplished plastic surgeon Dr. Phil
Reynolds (Robert Lansing) that he's cut out of his dad in law's will, as
the man never showed anything but contempt to him, especially after Phil's
wife (the old man's daughter) died under mysterious circumstances.
Instead, all the money - quite a considerable sum - is left to Phil's
daughter Heather (Judith Chapman). There's just one problem, Heather has
disappeared, and nobody knows where to or why ... well, Phil knows why,
she had witnessed him strangle her boyfriend Donald (Stan Wojno) to death,
but as to where to, Phil's just as clueless as everyone else - which hurts
Phil as he has always loved his daughter. Then though he stumbles upon a
beaten-to-a-pulp prostitute, Jane, who's face is shattered beyond
recognition, who's similar to Heather in size and shape, and he figures if
he gives her the face of Heather and teach her how to act like her, he can
fool everybody and get his hands on the inheritance after all, and he
promises Jane half the money ($2.5 million) if she agrees to the little
charade - and Jane's of course more than eager.
Everything goes fine as
can be, with the added bonus that Phil and Jane become a couple (in secret
of course as officially they're father and daughter) - until Phil's
brother in law Bradley (Arlen Dean Snyder), disinherited like Phil
himself, figures there's something wrong about the whole thing, and he
tries to make Jane drop her mask ... but gets so agitated doing so that he
has a heart attack and dies as Phil, who could have saved him, refuses to
give him first aid.
Of course, it's ruled a death by natural causes, so
Phil and Jane should be in the clear - until the real Heather shows up
after the funeral. And even if she acts as if she doesn't see through the
masquerade Phil and Jane have put up, the might know more than she lets
on. The problem takes an even graver turn though when Phil realizes how
drawn he feels to his daughter (the real one) - and not just in a paternal
Maybe not a masterpiece, but quite a cool psychological
thriller, that might seem a bit old-fashioned even for its time at first
(legacy hunter flicks have been Hollywood staple at least since the
1940s), and the use of shocks, suspense and score only seems to underline
that for the most part (but arguably in a good way, at least for someone
as into classic genre cinema as I am), but the ending, when the story's
incestuous underscore comes to the fore puts the movie almost ahead of its
time and is sure to leave one disturbed. Now add to that a solid cast and
a directorial effort that gives the story air to breathe, and you're in
for good genre entertainment!