Zig Zag (1970) Desperate George Kennedy Plans Stuff!

Zig Zag (1970) poster drama thriller george kennedy ranson mystery

Well he’s known for setting up a betting ring in prison between that man Paul Newman and 50 hard boiled eggs. Whenever a passenger jet is in trouble, he’s first on the call list. He’s simultaneously managed to help out Charlton Heston in the air and with an Earth shattering earthquake.  He’s played the hero, a hitman, a thug and even a few sheriffs and army majors. Even getting to show off his deadpan skills alongside Lt Frank Drebin. He surely is a Jack of all trades, who could this diverse guy be? step forward George Kennedy.

Zig Zag (1970) george kennedy drama mystery prison jail ranson plot

Mr Kennedy has appeared in countless films, a seasoned no-nonsense actor who could easily play a brutish character or one whom possessed a heart of pure gold. Each and every time it’s a pleasure to see him. Rarely does the guy get top billing, so it was a great joy to get recommended Zig Zag where our GK gets his name up on that first place podium.

Zig Zag (1970) george kennedy drama mystery courtroom Anne Jackson

The title Zig Zag sums up the twisting plot in this mystery drama perfectly. Paul Cameron (George Kennedy) is a hard working family man but unfortunately has just received some extremely upsetting news. With a trip to the doctors for blinding headaches, he is diagnosed terminally-ill with a brain tumor. To make matters even dreader for poor Paul, he is informed that his insurance policy will not give any money to his wife, Jean (Anne Jackson) and young daughter. Desperate Paul comes up with a master plan, so difficult and cunning that could it actually work?

Tagline – Every exit…a dead end!

Zig Zag (1970) george kennedy drama mystery prison jail Eli Wallach

Whilst researching a famous historical unsolved kidnapping and murder case of a wealthy businessman, he discovers there’s still a huge reward for the capture of the killer. Insuring the reward is dropped off into an unnamed post box, Paul calmly picks up the phone and confesses to the crime himself!  Is he crazy? Can his attorney, Mario Gambritti (Eli Wallach) struggle to find out whether Paul is guilty or just plain insane. Could all the digging about in this murder case actually bring to the surface the real perpetrators?

Oliver Nelson soundtrack score Zigzag Zig Zag wolfman film blog

It’s a really good 70’s mystery thriller and wonderful to see George and Eli working together. Alongside the twisting story is a cracking percussion and string soundtrack score from composer Oliver Nelson. So impressed with the soundtrack I had to pick it up to add to the vault. The title track Zig Zag is sung by Roy Orbison in a funky mood but it’s the chase and suspence themes I like. A quote by Jason Ankeny (Allmusic) sums it up with “the music navigates through a series of mood and tempo shifts with the precision of a race car moving in and out of traffic”

There’s also a few nice scenes featuring Paul’s friend Blacula (William Marshall) who owns a nightclub which features jazz singer Anita O’Day performing a lovely little tune.

Zig Zag (1970) george kennedy drama mystery Blacula (William Marshall) nightclubZig Zag (1970) Anita O'Day singing sweet jazz nightclub scene

It busts along at a good pace, has some surprises, the LA setting is cool and George Kennedy is good old George delivering a strong performance. Especially good is the whole beginning going through the prison system section that feels way too real.  Well worth digging out if you fancy a good 70’s drama. Have you seen it?

And to play us out, here’s Oliver Nelson and the track “The Other Car”.

6 thoughts on “Zig Zag (1970) Desperate George Kennedy Plans Stuff!

  1. Being a Kennedy fan I have seen this one before. Been years but I’ve never forgotten the twist fate plays here. Good title to unearth. I think I have that one sheet in the vault. Wanna see George do death wish? The Human Factor. Mid 70’s. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.