Does anyone remember this movie

(subtitle: or have I lost it?)

I’m not really sure whether this shouldn’t be in GQ, but since it is not a [i[Great* Question and is about movies, this seemed more appropriate.

A couple of years ago I’ve seen a seventies/eighties movie on television about a girl in her twenties who wakes up one morning and finds her boyfriend lying on the kitchen table with a (samurai?) sword sticking out of his chest. He’s dead (not to keep you in suspense any longer). Problem is, she has amnesia and only gradually remembers the night before and how this came about. The movie is about her piecing everything together.

I’ve asked this question before on rec.arts.movies.past-films, but unfortunately no-one could answer me. The thing is I can’t for the life of me remember the plot, and am still curious about it. I can’t remember the name of the movie either. Pretty ironic when the subject is a movie about amnesia, huh.

For additional detail: the movie was not a murder-mystery or a thriller, which leads me to believe that it was a seventies movie (less well-defined genre boundaries). It was more like an After Hours atmosphere, but a bit less surreal. The apartment was what you’d expect from young people (students?) living in a big city, except that it was (as far as memory serves) a bit more spacious than usual. The girl did not have a long aversion against her boyfriend or other motive for wanting him dead (though I’m not sure whether somewhere during the lost night something happened). Another thing: it is not about a moviestar waking up with a dead guy lying in bed next to her; that was a rather different movie.

If no-one can help me, I’d also be interested in being reminded (in spoiler box) of the plot of Last of Sheila. Seen that as a kid, was impressed by it, as seems to be everyone else, apparently, but cannot rent the movie over here.

Thanks for your attention.

In many ways it sounds like The Morning After with Jane Fonda and Jeff Bridges. It has the amnesia, the dead body, the expansive apartment and the ‘little by little piecing it together’. It also came out within the time frame you mentioned.

But it is a murder mystery, and she does wake up next to the body.

At the time it came out, I seem to remember a reviewer mentioning, “Why did they have to make it into a murder mystery?” Which to me implies (to a certain extent at least) that it might have been taken from a non-murder mystery.


From what I read in IMDB’s summary,TV time, I’m afraid it’s not The Morning After,* but then, you were not really suggesting that. Interesting thought though, that it might be related or that the one would have influenced the other. Maybe I should rent it and see whether it triggers other memories.

  • For one thing, in the movie in my mind the main character was not trying to avoid the police for an extended period of time. The movie only showed her during the next morning, piecing together the previous night in a couple of extended flashbacks.
    BTW, I didn’t find the movie when searching ofr USA movies from 1970-1985 with keyword ‘amnesia’.

I took the liberty of posting your question on the IMBD message board. One possibility that came back was Dead Funnny from 1994.

If you really just want a quick plot summary, here’s a good source:

For something that really deserves a spoiler, here goes:

[spoiler]Some time ago, Sheila was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Sheila’s husband (?), Clinton (James Coburn), enjoys games and sadism, so he invites several associates and friends aboard his yacht (named for his dead wife) for a sadistic game.

Each guest is given a card with a particularly embarassing crime/personality-trait written on it, such as “Shoplifter,” “Homosexual”, or “Little Child Molester.” Presumably, for either Clinton or the screenwriters, the line separating “embarassing” from “heinous” is somewhat fuzzy. Anyway, the game is something of a cross between hide-and-seek, To Tell the Truth, and a scavenger hunt. The goal is, IIRC, to figure out which card goes with which guest, for you see, the guests figure out in quick order that each of them is described by one of the crimes on the card.

Well, someone decides this game is not to his or her liking and kills dear Clinton rather than see it continue. The guests all convene and determine (in classic murder-mystery style) that one of them must have done it! They surmise that the cards must hold the secret and discover that one of the cards has written on it “Hit and Run Driver” (or “Hit and Run Killer,” it’s been a while). They deduce that Clinton was going to reveal who had killed Sheila and that Sheila’s killer had beaten him to it.

Soon follows many pointed fingers and many admissions of who’s card describes who until the process of elimination brings us to Lee (Joan Hackett), wife of Tom (Richard Benjamin), as the only remaining match for the “Hit and Run Driver” card.

Lee, bless her heart, soon slashes her wrists in an apparent bout of double-homicide-fueled remorse. Mystery solved, guilty self-punished. Let God sort it out.

But Philip (James Mason), gets suspicious and begins putting the pieces together differently from how they seemed to fit before. He determines that the cards Clinton originally gave out should have spelled “SHEILA” but didn’t, because there are now 2 Hs and no A. He deduces that Lee’s original card was actually “Alcoholic,” but that Tom must have switched it at some point to finger her as Sheila’s murderer.* The only good reason to do this, of course, is to cover up for Tom’s murder of Clinton. He further supposes that Tom actually killed Lee and made it appear to be suicide. Philip has the staggering poor sense to confront Tom with his deductions and evidence to support them (some of it photographic) while they are alone on the boat. Tom, somewhat predictably, receives this information poorly and apparently decides that murder, like shrubberies, is one of those things that come best in threes.

I will restrain from giving away the last five minutes of the film, for even with all of these spoilers, the last five minutes is worth the investment of the hour and a half or so building up to it.

  • I should state at this point that I can’t remember for sure if Lee really did kill Sheila and Tom’s actions merely highlighted it (I think so) or if Tom truly “framed” her for a crime she didn’t commit. It’s borderline irrelevant, but I thought I’d say.[/spoiler]
    How’d I do, CalMeacham?

I’ve just checked it in IMDB, Mjollnir, and by the Plot summary it sounds exactly like the movie I was looking for. Funny though, the movie poster and the year (1994) do not seem to match my memory (also I remembered a more ‘seventies’ style of filmmaking). This would mean I must (probably) have seen it somewhere after 1995 which for several reasons (me moving to a different appartment, picking up studies in the evening besides work) I would have thought to seem out of the question. I tend to date events by the general context of my life at the time I thought to have placed them. Apparently my memory is really starting to fail already at this tender age. :frowning:

Thanks for the trouble: I’m going to see whether I can find it in a local videostore.

P.S. When previewing, I saw your reply as well, KneadToKnow. Read through the spoiler box (yes, I’m that kind of person): good summary, giving the flavor of what it was that impressed me so much at the time. Damn, now I have to try tracking two movies. (Most Dutch videostores only have recent blockbusters, its really hard to find older, non-famous movies).

Thanks again you guys, SMDB came through again (with a little help of the IMDB message board, I’ll have to look into that too).

The Last of Sheila is available from I’m sure it will be NTSC video, which may not do you much good on that side of the Atlantic, but it does offer hope that it might be available.