Cinema: Basic Blackout

The Third Day. Looking agitated, George Peppard climbs through a broken guardrail, glances below at the riverbank where his Lincoln Continental and a take-home cocktail waitress have come to a bad end. He staggers off to a plush roadhouse where he is eyed knowingly by the bartender, the pianist, and his waiting chauffeur. He blinks, confused, unable to place faces but sensing in the situation something familiar. The familiar something is, of course, amnesia—the basic blackout of more suspense melodramas than most moviegoers care to remember.

In Third Day, Peppard learns from a medic...

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