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Jigsaw
Jigsaw
Actors: Manuel Aparicio, Doe Avedon, George Breen, Alexander Campbell, Brainerd Duffield
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2004     1hr 10min

     
     
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Movie Details

Actors: Manuel Aparicio, Doe Avedon, George Breen, Alexander Campbell, Brainerd Duffield
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/26/2004
Original Release Date: 12/15/1952
Theatrical Release Date: 12/15/1952
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 10min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Pieces missing
Steven Hellerstedt | 11/22/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"JIGSAW has just enough going for it to merit recommendation, with emphasis on the word `just.' It's a ramshackle story of an assistant New York City district attorney (Franchot Tone) who's hot on the trail of the shadowy racist hate group, the Crusaders.
With low-key photography and acting, JIGSAW has a naturalistic look and feel to it. It's one of those late 40's gray city movies that included scenes taking place in real locations - real dirty city streets with real cats rummaging through overflowing trash cans.
There's a mystery behind the confused mystery the movie presents. While Tone's character is investigating what was then a stereotypical Communist group, JIGSAW includes a number of cameos by prominent stars, many of who were targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) as belonging to subversive organizations prior to World War II. It was a time of loyalty oaths and black-listings, so perhaps the cameo stars appeared to indicate their opposition to such organizations as the Crusaders. Two of the cameo stars belonged to the Committee for the First Amendment, which publicly called for the abolishment of HUAC, so perhaps the "harmless lunatics" who support mob-run rackets like the Crusaders aren't Trotskyites after all. Considering the political manipulations this movie exposes, you might even interpret the Crusaders as a front for a HUAC-like politician.
Such is the sea this movie swims in. There's the Good Girl brunette and the Bad Girl Blonde, the political fixer and the exasperated boss. Standard stuff ably handled and nicely photographed. I won't spoil the surprise by naming any of the cameo stars, but the first one appears about 15 minutes into the movie.
"
Jigsaw is an interesting film
Le Bibliothécaire | 02/03/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This movie is a film noir classic It concerns a quest to find out who is behind a hate group which is run by murderers and power mongers. Franchot Tone is the Assistant District Attorney and Special Prosecutor who must do battle with these forces of evil.

The tone is dead serious about the dangers of prejudice and hate. There are some comments about the need for tolerance and understanding. Similar in a way to movies of the time, like "Crossfire" and "Home of the Brave", Jigsaw is an interesting movie. There are many twists and turns in the plot and the acting is good.

Winifred Lenihan (in her only movie performance) shines, as does Jean Wallace as the femme fatale. The print is murky, but the photography is good, with some unusual close-ups.

Jigsaw has a special treat for movie fans. There are cameos from Burgess Meredith, Henry Fonda, John Garfield, Marsha Hunt and Marlene Dietrich. They are lending themselves to the cause of anti-fascism, but they do it in a humorous way. Some of them mug towards the camera and it is fun to try to identify them. Jigsaw is a film noir with a different slant."
A Hollywood lecture, but it has nice acting jobs by Franchot
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 11/13/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

""Even angels can get their wings clipped!" says New York Assistant District Attorney Howard Malloy (Franchot Tone) to good-time girl Barbara Whitfield (Jean Wallace) as he tries to convince her to tell the truth, and of the consequences if she doesn't. Says Barbara, looking him in the eye, "You got the scissors?" It doesn't take long for Howard to trick her into spilling the beans, or at least start to...but Barbara is now scared, really scared. "Oh, Howard," she cries, "hold me, help me..." And these are the good lines.

If the price is right, and I'd say no more than $3.99 used is the right price, Jigsaw will give you an earnest, disorganized ethics lecture disguised as a crime story. It has two good points. First, you'll have Franchot Tone to watch, an actor I've always considered one of the best in Hollywood. Tone could make even a mundane and slightly ridiculous character seem interesting. He had class, charm, screen presence and top-drawer acting ability. Unfortunately, he had a private life that shredded his dignity. (He got in a fight with actor Tom Neal over Barbara Payton and wound up beaten into a coma with a smashed cheek bone. Payton married him when he recovered and then left him seven weeks later for Neal.) He also was one of those actors, like Gary Cooper, who simply didn't age well. But he was such a classy actor he could even bring some interest to weak tea like Jigsaw, as well as to a number of lesser but intriguing movies like Phantom Lady. Second, 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 and, I'm told, Henry Fonda and Marlene Dietrich. I must have blinked when the last two were on and I'm not about to watch Jigsaw again just to verify them.

Why would these stars do walk-ons in such a clunky, disjointed movie as this? Probably because they had no idea it would turn out so poorly. Primarily, I suppose, because Jigsaw is a Hollywood lecture on the need to fight extremism. Remember, this movie was made in 1949. The anti-Communist fear-mongers were crawling out from under America's beds to frighten any who didn't believe they way they were told to believe. The Hollywood studio bosses were easily and quickly intimidated; the blacklist which ruined the careers of many actors, screenwriters and directors was gathering steam; and people were being called on to defend before Congress who their friends were, how they voted and what organizations they may have supported or joined. Jigsaw delivers a lot of verbal shots, however heavy-handed, at the reactionary forces. The shots are mind-numbingly preachy. Organizations and people like the Crusaders, says one character to Malloy, "exploit the anti-this and anti-that...and any race or religion they can exploit to use as a scapegoat. Ignorance pays off, and the profits can climb into the millions." He's referring to all the cash that true believers spend on membership fees, annual contributions, badges and T-shirts. All this is true, but the righteousness of the lectures is so earnest it sends us yawning.

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. In the crime category is Marc Lawrence as Angelo Agostini. Lawrence never quite made it out of the journeyman actor category, but he was always good as a crook, a Gestapo agent or a killer. He has a satisfying role in Jigsaw. In the privileged category is Winifred Lenihan as Mrs. Grace Hartley, a smart, saucy and aristocratic society matron, a mover and shaker, wealthy, gracious and...well, don't turn your back on her. Lawrence and Lenihan almost make up for the others.

This public domain Alpha Video release is what you'd expect: Six chapter stops, and watchable. Even for Franchot Tone fans, Jigsaw is nothing much."