Popped in the Criterion of SECONDS last night. Still my favorite Frankenheimer. The movie's not perfect, but it's perfect enough, if that makes any sense.
Frankenheimer and James Wong Howe stylize the movie to a point that you could argue is undisciplined, but the photography contributes so much to the unsettling atmosphere of the piece. Not to mention how influential it is. The whole "bolt the camera to a moving actor" gimmick got Aronofsky all kinds of plaudits at Sundance thirty years later, and come to think of it, PI kind of has the same ending, doesn't it?
It's fun to pick out the 1960s character actors in this. You've got Wesley Addy from WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? and HUSH...HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE. Jeff Corey was the wino in LADY IN A CAGE, which I watched only three posts up. The wonderfully kooky Khigh Dhiegh, who was the brainwasher in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. And Murry Hamilton, ten years before he'd get elected as Amity Island's mayor.
In the commentary track, which was recorded for the 2002 DVD release, Frankenheimer laments cutting out a scene where Rock Hudson goes to visit his character's daughter and son-and-law (played by Leonard Nimoy), which would have come right before the scene where he visits his wife. Apparently he would have restored it had the footage been found, which it was not: