THE THIRD DAY
(director: Jack Smight; screenwriter: novel by Joseph Hayes/Burton Wohl/Robert Presnell Jr.; cinematographer: Robert Surtees; editor: Stefan Arnsten; music: Percy Faith; cast: George Peppard (Steve Mallory), Elizabeth Ashley (Alexandria Mallory), Roddy McDowall (Oliver Parsons), Arthur O’Connell (Dr. Wheeler), Mora Washbourne (Catherine Parsons). Charles Drake (Larry Conway, lawyer), Herbert Marshall (Austin Parsons), Sally Kellerman (Holly Mitchell), Arte Johnson (Lester Aldrich), Robert Webber (Dom Guardiano, DA), Vincent Gardenia (Preston), Bill Walker (Logan); Runtime: 119; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jack Smight; Warner Bros. Pictures; 1965-UK)
“A forgettable amnesia tale.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A forgettable amnesia tale. It’s based on the novel by Joseph Hayes, and is written by Burton Wohl and Robert Presnell Jr. It’s directed in a routine manner by Jack Smight (“Damnation Alley”/”Midway”). In a small town a car goes over the guard rail on a cliff and goes into the river. Steven Mallory (George Peppard) emerges from the river unhurt but has lost his memory. We soon learn that cocktail waitress Holly Mitchell (Sally Kellerman) was found alive but in critical condition in the Lincoln. Steve’s chatty Aunt Catherine Parsons (Mora Washbourne) picks him up at the local lounge and returns him to his mansion. At home Steve learns his wife Alex (Elizabeth Ashley, the real-life wife of Peppard), the rich daughter of the unable to speak stroke victim family patriarch (Herbert Marshall), is planning on leaving him for his infidelities. Catherine’s irritating son Oliver (Roddy McDowall) is there urging him to agree to sell the Parsons pottery firm at tomorrow’s board meeting to Oliver for a large cash settlement. Also there is the family lawyer Larry Conway (Robert Webber), trying to find out what happened and telling Steve if the girl dies he faces a possible murder charge. The family doctor (Arthur O’Connell) is brought in to see if Steve is really a victim of amnesia and to see if he can help him recover his memory. The glum psychodrama never comes to life as either a murder or domestic mystery. But there’s a lot of idle chatter and a pathetic climax to contend with on the third day. Arte Johnson plays the crazed nerdy lounge piano player husband of Holly, who threatens to kill Alex to avenge the death of his wife.
REVIEWED ON 8/18/2016 GRADE: C+