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Sidney Lumet's wired-up, hysterical direction overwhelms the minor pleasures of Ira Levin's play. He handles the actors—Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, and Dyan Cannon—as if he were shooting a sequel to Dog Day Afternoon, and so much manic behavior has no place to go in the context of a tricky thriller with deliberately two-dimensional characters. Henry Jones shines briefly as a beacon of economy and restraint, but the film as a whole is unforgivably inferior to Joseph L. Mankiewicz's trifling Sleuth, which at least had the grace to embrace its stage origins. With Irene Worth.

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