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Michael Caine, a playwright who has had several flops in a row, is married to Dyan Cannon. She has all the money in the family and has been supporting him for years. Caine's latest play has just flopped when he receives an unsolicited script in the mail. The young author, Christopher
Reeve, is a fan of Caine's and heard him speak once. Since Reeve sent his only copy of the manuscript and Caine reckons it can be a huge success, he tells his wife he plans to kill the author and sell the play as his own. When Reeve arrives, the cat-and-mouse game begins, with a number of twists.
This is an extremely faithful film adaptation of Ira Levin's gimmicky stage play. Director Sidney Lumet is content simply to film the play almost exactly as it appeared onstage, which makes for a dull film. Caine, Reeve, and Cannon are all miscast, and they play their roles with such unrestrained
bravado that they only add to the overall phoniness of the production. At the time of release much was made out of the brief on-screen kiss between Caine and Reeve. Ironically, one of the backers of the original play was Claus von Bulow, later accused and then acquitted of attempting to murder his
wealthy socialite wife Martha "Sunny" Crawford for her money.