Baffled! (1973)



Who dares to walk the line between life and death?

Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy, Susan Hampshire and Vera Miles star in this eerie story of revenge and murder from beyond the grave. Baffled, an intriguing ITC pilot for a never-completed series, is directed by Phillip Leacock and also stars Rachel Roberts, Christopher Benjamin, Angharad Rees and Ray Brooks.

Tom Kovak is a hard-nosed racing driver, until a sudden supernatural vision causes him to lose control of his car as he hurtles along at 140 miles per hour. Michele Brent is the woman who convinces Tom that his apparitions are significant. When she leads him to the manor house of his vision, he meets glamorous film star Andrea Glenn and her daughter, Jennifer, whose screaming image was the last thing he saw before his near-fatal crash. Despite Tom’s initial doubts, he is inextricably drawn into their lives, as together they combat a force that they cannot see, but can feel only too well. An ominous, vengeful presence engulfs the manor house. Its only aim is death, and its intended victim is Andrea; little Jennifer is its weapon. Tom must now find the means to tap into his powers. It is their only hope...

Submitted by Grace

BAFFLED! (1973)

The trouble with television executives is that they don’t have enough psychic flashes. Hence their failure to forecast a day when pop culture credibility would acquire critical mass - and a built-in audience.

This being the sad reality, however, we can only sigh and shake our heads over the might-have-been of Baffled!, a TV pilot starring a V-neck-sweater-and-flares-clad, cravat-favouring, fedora-wearing Leonard Nimoy as a racing-car driver-cum-smooth-talking ladies’ man who turns occult detective after developing psychic abilities.

Still---on prima facie evidence, someone must have a good deal of faith in the potential of Baffled!, which was shot at the famous Pinewood Studios and features a surprisingly star-heavy cast. However, the people who mattered – the ITC higher-ups on both sides of the Atlantic – failed to warm up to the project. In an effort to re-coup some of the costs, the producers of Baffled! then arranged a UK cinema release (and, from indirect evidence, one in Italy) – but this, too, failed, possibly because the British critics, who were never very fond of genre fare, were absurdly harsh in their criticism of it...even complaining that Baffled!, “...looks more like a made-for-television movie than a proper cinema production.”

(...) However---while Baffled! certainly is entertaining, it must be admitted that, for modern audiences, a large part of that derives from factors quite other than its concept and story---namely, its exceedingly large Leonard Nimoy Entertainment Quotient (...)


Presented by Scorpion Releasing, in conjunction with ITV, Baffled! aired in 1973 and cast a post-Spock Nimoy as Tom Kovack, a hard-nosed race driver stricken with a sudden supernatural vision that causes a near fatal crash as he’s hurtling down the backstretch at 140 MPH. Michele Brent (Susan Hampshire) is the woman who convinces Kovack that his visions are significant, and she leads him to the manor house that appears in his vision. That, in turn, leads Kovack into a world of revenge and murder from beyond the grave, with Kovack compelled to tap into his new-found power to conquer the evil forces at work.

Source: Star

DVD REVIEW: "BAFFLED!" (1973) ... 

By Don L. Stradley

One forgets how busy Leonard Nimoy was during the early and mid ‘70s. There’s a tendency to think he vanished once his three year hitch as Mister Spock on NBC’s Star Trek was over, but he was everywhere for a while, acting in Mission: Impossible, lending his voice to the classic show In Search Of…, writing books of poetry, and even recording albums. Granted, his demonic eyebrows and somber voice limited him to some degree – he would always seem otherworldly - but he had an undeniable star quality.

(...) At its best, Baffled! feels a bit like other ‘70s shows such as Night Gallery and The Sixth Sense. It even owes a bit to The Avengers, minus the cheeky, swingin’ London vibe. At its worst, Baffled! is a bit dry and takes too long to get from one point to the next. It was directed by Phiip Leacock, a television veteran who specialized in one-hour shows like The Waltons. At times,Baffled! feels like an hour show padded out to make a feature length piece. One wonders if NBC opted out of the series because of the slowness of the movie, rather than looking at Nimoy’s potential.

The flaws of the movie aside, Nimoy is fun to watch here. He tries to be the kind of wise-cracking leading man that series television required in those days, and even pulls off a few action scenes. NBC may have missed a good bet when they didn’t pick this one up 40 years ago. With some care, it could’ve worked.

Source: Cinemaretro


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