Mirage is a 1965 film which, I must admit, I’d never heard of before, yet it comes from the same stable as the better known Charade and Arabesque, and is arguably an improvement upon both those movies as a suspenseful mystery. The book on which it was based was written by a notable author, Howard Fast, who wrote various thrillers (that I haven’t read) under the name E.V. Cunningham.
Mirage opens with a blackout in a New York skyscraper. David Stilwell (played by Gregory Peck) is accosted by an attractive woman who claims to know him, but he doesn’t recognise her. She disappears rather mysteriously, and shortly afterwards he leans that a famous man had plunged to his death from the skyscraper moments earlier.
The plot duly thickens as it becomes clear that Stilwell is suffering from amnesia. What is going on? He hires a private eye, played by Walter Matthau in his inimitable fashion, to find out, but the gumshoe meets an untimely end.
There are hints of Cornell Woolrich style paranoia in the story-line, but the overwhelming influence is that of Hitchcock. Diane Baker, who plays the female lead, is not quite as glamorous as the typical Hitchcock blonde, and more importantly does not play her part in an especially compelling way. Nor does Peck make quite such an impact as Cary Grant at his best. But despite some weaknesses, I thought this was a decent thriller and I’m glad I watched it.