8 April 2009 | blanche-2
James Garner is "Mr. Buddwing," a man who wakes up in Central Park and can't remember who he is in this 1966 film directed by Delbert Mann. Taking the name Buddwing off of a Budweiser truck and the wing of a plane, Garner has a train schedule for a Harlem line, a phone number, and a ring with a crack in it from "GV." Gradually things start to come back to him as he meets various women throughout the day, all of whom he thinks are named Grace. Through them, he relives different stages of his married life: Katharine Ross, a college student; Suzanne Pleshette, an actress; and Jean Simmons, as a drunken blond on a scavenger hunt. Angela Lansbury plays a blowsy woman whose phone number Buddwing finds in his pocket - or thinks he does.
The film is made in an interesting way - one minute, Garner will be talking to Pleshette, for instance, in the present, and then a second later, he's talking to Pleshette as Grace, at some time in the past. The film is like that all the way through, as Buddwing's memories come back. Despite its stylishness and the '60s New York City scenes, "Mr. Buddwing" moves somewhat slowly. Garner does a good job, portraying the man's confusion and frustration well. Both Pleshette and Simmons are excellent; Ross has the least showy role.
A dark movie, worth seeing.