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Jigsaw

1949

The plot is about a shadowy group called the Crusaders, which has been organizing itself into a power center. Its poster shows a handsome Aryan lad against the waving American flag. Their slogan, "Join The Crusaders -- Fight for America!". The implication is clear...the Crusaders will be against anyone who doesn't look, sound or believe the way that Aryan poster boy does. When a columnist is killed while looking into the Crusaders, Howard Malloy finds himself appointed a special prosecutor. He also finds himself in a noxious mess that combines crime, nativism and the reactionary beliefs of some of the privileged few. You can play the amusing Hollywood game of Spot the Star Cameo. In unbilled bits that last a second or two are such luminaries as Burgess Meredith, John Garfield, Marsha Hunt, Everett Sloane, Henry Fonda and Marlene Dietrich.


Jigsaw is a 1949 film noir directed by Fletcher Markle, and starring Franchot Tone, Jean Wallace and Marc Lawrence. The feature was produced by Edward J. Danziger and Harry Lee Danziger from a screenplay by Vincent McConnor and Fletcher Markle from a story by John Roeburt.<>.</>
Of note is that the film has cameo appearances by Marlene Dietrich, Henry Fonda, John Garfield, Burgess Meredith, Marsha Hunt (actress), Doe Avedon, Everett Sloane, newspaper columnist Leonard Lyons, and the director Fletcher Markle.

Plot

The title ers to a jigsaw puzzle and the story begins with the murder of a print shop owner that is quickly labeled a suicide. But newspaper columnist Charlie Riggs is convinced that it was a murder related to a white Neo-fascism organization called the Crusaders and imparts this suspicion to Assistant District Attorney Howard Malloy. He also publishes this opinion in his column. Then Riggs himself is murdered, inducing Malloy to launch an investigation into the Crusaders. Because the group appears to be getting backing from organized crime, Malloy looks there, soon receiving unasked-for help from a crime boss called Angel, who recommends him for the position of special prosecutor.
Later, with further help from a prominent judge's widow, Malloy is appointed. This is supposed to put him in the pocket of those behind the murders. But Malloy proceeds to investigate the artist who created the Crusaders recruiting poster. Seeing in the artist's studio a painting of an attractive night club singer, Malloy then proceeds to investigate her. This leads to a series of revelations regarding all of these characters and ends with more people dead and wounded in a fiery exchange at the end.

Cast



  • Franchot Tone as Howard Malloy
  • Jean Wallace as Barbara Whitfield
  • Myron McCormick as Charles Riggs
  • Marc Lawrence as Angelo Agostini
  • Winifred Lenihan as Mrs. Hartley
  • Doe Avedon as Caroline Riggs
  • Hedley Rainnie as Sigmund Kosterich
  • Walter Vaughan as District Attorney Walker
  • George Breen as Knuckles
  • Robert Gist as Tommy Quigley

  • Hester Sondergaard as Mrs. Borg
  • Luella Gear as Pet Shop Owner
  • Alexander Campbell as Pemberton
  • Robert Noe as Waldron
  • Alexander Lockwood as Nichols
  • Ken Smith as Wylie
  • Alan MacAteer as Museum Guard
  • Manuel Aparicio as Warehouse Guard
  • Brainerd Duffield as Butler

Reception

=Critical response=

When the film was released, The New York Times film critic, Bosley Crowther, panned the film, writing, "On the sole account of Jigsaw, which opened at the Mayfair on Saturday, Hollywood has no reason to look immediately and anxiously to its laurels ... It is sluggishly directed by Fletcher Markle, who also co-authored the script, and almost indifferently played, where good playing would do the most for it, by Franchot Tone in the principal role ... An irresistible temptation to get a few recognizable stars to play bit roles in the picture was accepted unfortunately. John Garfield is seen as a loafer, Henry Fonda as a waiter in a club, Burgess Meredith as a bartender, Marcia Hunt as a secretary and such. This tomfooling doesn't help the picture. It gives the whole thing a faintly prankish look."

Category:1949 films
Category:1940s drama films
Category:American films
Category:Black-and-white films
Category:English-language films
Category:Film noir
Category:United Artists films
2.67
Edward J. and Harry Lee Danziger

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