Baffled! (1972)

USA, UK, 30 January 1973 1Although made for American television and originally broadcast on this date, the film was shown theatrically in the UK near the end of 1972
approx 90m
35mm film, colour, 4:3
mono, English

An American/British fantasy television film directed by Philip Leacock.

Plot Summary

Racing driver Tom Kovack begins to suffer disturbing psychic visions and is helped by an expert in the paranormal to unravel the mystery surrounding what he’s seeing.

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Directed by: Philip Leacock
© Arena Productions Inc., ITC – Incorporated Television Company Ltd. MCMLXII [1972]
Arena presents an Arena production for ITC world wide distribution
Executive Producer: Norman Felton
Produced by: Philip Leacock
Associate Producer: John Oldknow
Production Manager: Malcolm Christopher
Written by: Theodore Apstein
Assistant Director: Michael Dryhurst
Continuity: Joan Davis
Director of Photography: Ken Hodges
Camera Operator: Herbert Smith
Editor: Bill Blunden
In Colour Processed by: Rank Film Laboratories
Music Composed and Conducted by: Richard Hill
Sound Recordists: John Mitchell, Gordon McCallum
Dubbing Editor: John Ireland
Sound Effects by: Cinesound
Costume Supervisor: Elsa Fennell
Make Up: Ernest Gasser
Hairdresser: Eileen Warwick
Art Director: Harry Pottle
Made at Pinewood Studios, London. England; Taplow Court, near Maidenhead, Berkshire, England. UK *
Location Manager: Bernard Hanson
Casting Director: Weston Drury Jnr

Cast
Leonard Nimoy (Tom Kovack)
Susan Hampshire (Michele Brent)
Rachel Roberts (Mrs Farraday)
Jewel Blanch (Jennifer Glenn)
Vera Miles (Andrea Glenn)
Valerie Taylor (Louise Sanford)
Ray Brooks (George Tracewell)
Angharad Rees (Peggy Tracewell)
Christopher Benjamin (Verelli)
Mike Murray (Parrish/Sanford)
Ewan Roberts (Hopkins)
Milton Johns (Dr Reed)
Al Mancini (TV interviewer)
John Rae (theatre doorman)
Patsy Smart (cleaning woman)
Shane Rimmer (track announcer)
Roland Brand (race track mechanic)
Bill Hutchinson (doctor)
Michael Sloan (ambulance man)
Dan Meaden (policeman)
Frank Mann (announcer’s P.A.)

Alternative Titles

Una testa di lupo mozzata – Italy

Press

1972
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.39 no.464 (September 1972) p.183
Dismal fodder made for American TV and released, unfortunately, to British cinemas. Overbearingly ‘English’ and riddled with what seem to be last-minute excisions which cut speakers off in midsentence, the rest of the film has little connection with a vaguely promising opening in which a racing driver, half way round the track, finds himself roaring up the driveway of a country estate. […] Even without his Star Trek ears Leonard Nimoy makes an unlikely racing driver/investigator and gives an uncomfortable performance. But at least Rachel Roberts as the unctuous villainess (discovered on one occasion playing the harpsichord) actually appears to be enjoying herself. – from a review by David McGillivray

1973
Daily Variety 1 February 1973 p.12
Foray into the psychic world […] simply doesn’t cut it in NBC telefilm renaissance. Theodore Apstein’s preposterous teleplay with its banal dialog, one-dimensional characters and cluttered storyline isn’t helped by direction of producer Philip Leacock. He permits his actors more extensive leeway in melodramatic thesping than has been seen in many a moon. […] Oleander in the orange juice, wicked night visitors, automatic writing, secret passages, dreadful omens come to naught as the characters wander about, stumbling onto others’ confidences, seldom bothering to look around to see if there’s any lurking danger. Rachel Roberts and Valerie Taylor make great efforts to come up with characterizations, but it’s a tough assignment. “Like it or not, you have rare and mysterious insight,” Miss Hampshire warns Nimoy, who wisely doesn’t like it at first. He would have been wiser to stick with his initial instinct. Technical credits are okay. Music by Richard Hill only accentuates the negative. – from a review by Tone

References

Periodicals

  • CinemaTV Today no.9993 (12 August 1972) p.14 – review
  • Daily Variety 26 August 1971 p.8 – note (ITC Will Shoot ‘Baffled’ for CBS)
  • Daily Variety 16 December 1971 p.27 – note (NBC Greenlights 30 Pilots For Next Season)
  • Daily Variety 14 October 1971 p.5 – advert
  • Daily Variety 30 January 1973 p.12 – advert
  • Daily Variety 1 February 1973 p.12 – credits, review (by Tone)
  • The Dark Side December/January 1994 p.36 – review
  • Films and Filming vol.19 no.6 (March 1973) p.51 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.39 no.464 (September 1972) p.183 – credits, synopsis, review (by David McGillivray)
  • Variety 26 April 1972 p.49 – advert

Books

  • Creature Features Movie Guide Strikes Again by John Stanley p.33 – credits, review
  • Cyborgs, Santa Claus and Satan: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films Made for Television by Fraser A. Sherman pp.200
  • Film Review 1973-74 by F. Maurice Speed (ed) p.212 – credits
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.19 – credits
  • Movies Made for Television: The Telefeature and the Mini-Series 1964-1979 by Alvin H. Marill pp.127-128 – illustrated credits, synopsis